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Characterization of non-hazardous residual materials on the Valcartier Support Base

Jennifer Loschiavo, Virginie Loucheur, and Martin Beaudoin
Arcadis Canada Inc.

The objective of this presentation is to share the non-hazardous residual materials data generated on the Valcartier Support Base, with an emphasis on the organic material generated daily by the base’s occupants, namely military personnel and civilians.


Arcadis Canada Inc. was commissioned by Defence Construction Canada (DCC) on behalf of the Department of National Defence (DND) to perform a characterization of non-hazardous residual materials at the Valcartier Support Base. The main objective of this study was to quantify non-hazardous residual materials, with an emphasis on organic materials, generated daily by the base’s occupants, namely military personnel and civilians. The 30 buildings included in the study accounted for approximately 50% of the base’s occupants at this time of year. Residual materials were separated by buildings and by areas, predetermined by DND and identified as follows: washrooms, cafeterias, office areas, and residences.

The base’s housekeeping team collaborated with Arcadis’s teams and DND/DCC to collect garbage and recycling bags from the identified buildings. The bags were brought to a sorting area for the work to sort and weigh the residual materials collected. A total of 16 categories of residual materials were determined by DND: paper, cardboard, cardboard boxes, recyclable plastic, glass, metal, plastic film, multi-layer containers, Styrofoam containers, rigid plastic plates, other non-recyclable plastics, organic materials, paper hand towels, paper cups, and ultimate waste. Any other material that could not be included in these categories was not recorded, but not weighed. Residual materials sorted according to these 16 categories were weighed and classified by building and area. This working method made it possible, for each sorted material, to assess quantities by building, area, or collectively for all the identified buildings. 

To ensure quality control of the collected data, tracers were randomly inserted by DND/DCC in some garbage bags to check whether the contents of the bags matched the label placed by the housekeeping team identifying the building number and the area from which the bag came (washrooms, cafeterias, office areas, and residences).

Once the raw sorting and weighing data for the residual materials is collected, statistical processing will be undertaken to obtain the amounts of residual materials generated annually for each of the buildings covered by the study. Afterward, an extrapolation will be made to determine this data for the entire Valcartier Base territory. These quantities will also be used to estimate the costs of improved residual materials management.

Based on the results obtained, recommendations and suggestions for improvements to current operations will be proposed to DND/DCC. The results obtained during the study will also be compared to the objectives of the Québec Residual Materials Management Policy – 2011–2015.

Jennifer Loschiavo, Project Assistant, Arcadis Canada Inc.

Jennifer Loschiavo is part of the Arcadis Canada Inc. team at the Longueuil, Quebec office. She has been a project assistant for two years. Ms. Loschiavo has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Concordia University. Residual material management is one of her main interests in the environmental field. She has held several positions in waste material management, including material sorting, data weighing, and visual characterization of residual materials. Given Ms. Loschiavo’s interest in residual materials management, she expressed interest in meeting this challenge.

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