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Crews ‘chipper’ about new machine

The chipper is being pushed as an alternative to closing the Jasper Transfer station to commercial waste.

Several Jasper Concrete employees watched curiously as the massive chipper shred the home into truckloads of material, using a giant magnet to remove metal from the compost. The plaster and lathe can be used for compost and the wood and shingles are screened out of the mix. The end result should have a home in the Jasper Transfer station, employees said.

“Jasper Concrete is using this to convince Parks to change its mind on the landfill closure. Trucking waste to Hinton is expensive. All the products are reusable and it makes a good compost,” said Gord Bye of Jasper Concrete.

The landfill is only accepting construction waste until September, which accelerated the demolition project, according to home owner Sam Koebel. After trying to repair the home for five years, he finally decided to knock it down instead and rebuild. He was impressed with the environmental savings from the chipper, and said he wants to use several environmentally friendly techniques in building his new home. The new home on the double corner lot will use the same footprint, he said.

Parks Canada officials showed up to watch the demonstration, and were impressed with what they saw.

“It’s an interesting experiment. It makes more efficient use of trucks,” Jasper National Park manager of municipal services Jurgen Deagle said, praising the reduction in truck traffic.

“For sheer volume, it’s a good thing. Anything that reduces volume is great, but we’d still like to see waste reduction,” Deagle said.

Deagle said instead of ending up with a pile of waste, he’d like to see the content sorted, which according to the company is possible.

“The plaster and lathe can go in the compost, and the clean wood can go to the woodpile. Parks is talking to the wastewater treatment plant about supplying wood chips to their operation. And the shingles can be melted down to make new asphalt,” Deagle said. “But we’re definitely interested in this.”

Despite the volume reductions, Deagle said Parks needs to look at other issues surrounding the landfill, namely contamination.

“We have lots of space, but the intent is for Parks not to have a landfill. Our concern is the contamination of the area,” Deagle said.

Deagle said having the chipper at the transfer station could certainly help.

“It’s something that we’re definitely looking at,” Deagle said.

Grant Kergen, owner of the Groundworx Co. and the $830,000 chipper said closing landfills creates greater expenses for communities down the line.

“When a community closes a landfill and hauls waste to another community, it loses control. Years later, the other community raises its rates.”

Kergen pushes his chipper as a way to reduce volume and the environmental impact of construction waste. He said it is capable of reducing construction waste by 55 per cent, and reducing municipal household waste by 30 per cent. 

“Projects that take 13 truckloads to move we do in eight,” Kergen said. “The problem with tearing down a house is you can’t get the weight up. The contractor has to look at reducing volume to get it on the truck. This solves that. The way of the future is to reduce volume.” 

Kergen has sold one of his chipper units to Fort McMurray.

The demolition and lot clearing took about a day, which is half the time most house demolitions take, Kergen said. 

The entire demolition took about 30 truckloads to the landfill.

“Without the chipper, it would have taken twice as many trips and taken twice as long,” Kergen said.



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