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County dump sites could see composting; free mulch as part of bid to divert organics from waste

Municipal staff will investigate options to address accumulating leaf, yard waste and brush at the waste sites, including the potential for on-site composting and a pilot program to make mulch available to the public.

At Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, council also directed staff to work with the Environmental Advisory Committee to develop an educational campaign to focus on diverting organics, emphasizing composting.

Currently, organics make up four per cent of waste generated in the municipality. Organics represent 11 per cent of the total diverted wastes – well below the provincial average of 42.4 per cent.

“This may indicate that a large amount of organic waste is not being diverted from landfill and represents an opportunity to increase diversion rates,” said Albert Paschkowiak, Environmental Services and Sustainability Supervisor, in his report to councillors.

Free dump days, or opening waste sites for extra days is not being recommended. Instead, the education campaign would also inform residents of fines, environmental and social impacts associated with littering.

The report states the loss of revenue for free dump days is estimated to be $5,200 per day of operation. If usage is high, an additional $2,752 to $7,424 can be incurred per day to change out site bins multiple times.

However, the report also indicates operations staff estimate approximately 160 hours of staff time are required to resolve illegal roadside dumping issues within the County annually.

“Approximately eight to nine tandem truckloads of waste are generated annually from roadside dumping with a large percentage of these loads comprising large items (e.g. white goods and furniture). Costs to the County to resolve roadside dumping are estimated to be approximately $6,000 annually including labour, and disposal.” It was noted lost revenue is difficult to quantify and is highly variable depending on the type of waste disposed.

Council also learned contents from the new combination recycling and waste receptacles in urban centres are mostly going to the waste stream as most of the recycling contents are either not appropriate, or contaminated with food.

Council asked staff to investigate options to improve waste diversion of organics, such as subsidizing green bins and composters, and increasing the use of backyard composters within the County.

Backyard composting is the preferred method as the curbside green bin pick up was noted as being more expensive than waste disposal. The County’s waste, council was told, is mostly trucked west to the St. Catherines area. The process of recycling, Paschkowiak, noted, is in a state of flux and will undergo substantial changes over the next few years as the Ontario government changes the system to producer responsibility.

The County operates three waste disposal sites and four waste transfer stations. Waste sites are governed by Environmental Compliance Approval issued by the Ministry of the Environment, which dictates operations and conditions to continue operation.

Last year, there were 4403 visits to Ameliasburgh; 3,320 to Hallowell, 2,142 to Hillier, 9,882 at Picton, 5,639 to Sophiasburgh, 8,568 to South Marysburgh and 6,450 to Wellington.

“Prince Edward County’s waste diversion rate for 2020 was calculated to be approximately 37 per cent. Annual waste diversion rates have been stable over the past six years and have ranged between 34 and and 40 per cent,” said Paschkowiak. “Of note, the quantity of organics collected within Prince Edward County has increased between 33 and 34 per cent since 2018 indicating greater participation in the organics program. Collection of recyclable materials increased by 6.5 per cent in 2019 and slightly decreased by 2.8 per cent in 2020.”

He notes the waste diversion rates exclude leaf and yard waste collection and other waste streams where records aren’t readily available (such as household hazardous waste, tires, e-waste, etc.)

There is an emphasis from all levels of government to increase waste diversion to reduce waste and save landfill space.

His report states the County’s current waste diversion rate exceeds the provincial goal of 30 per cent waste diversion by 2020.

“The next MECP goal is set at 50 per cent waste diversion by 2030 with a goal of 80 per cent diversion by 2050.”

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  1. Nora says:

    They have been using this program in Kitchener for several years with great success. In Kitchener, they sell the mulch and compost to offset the cost.

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