About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Plastic Garbage Bags out in 2012

As of 2012, you won't be able to put your recyclable and organic compost in plastic bags anymore. The move was approved by council last night in order to comply with a provincial mandate to stop the collection of organic waste in plastic bags, as well as being a component of the new Organic Waste Processing Facility.

It's interesting to gage reaction to this news because a lot of it sounds like the criticism of Wet/Dry when it was first introduced: the expense, the inconvenience, the burden. People were just genuinely abrasive towards the idea that we could no longer cram all our garbage into a big black bag, put it on the curb and forget about it. Now, all those years later, the Wet/Dry program is just a thing we do. It became a model for other municipalities and anyone that still complains about it is like the guy that refuses to give up his telegraph machine for the internet.

Check out the press release here.

GUELPH, ON, August 31, 2010 – Guelph’s curbside waste collection system will begin collecting waste in carts instead of bags for household organics, recyclables and waste in 2012. The carts, once collected, will be emptied into new waste collection trucks with the use of an automatic arm.

Council made the decision to switch to carts at last night’s City Council meeting in order to comply with a condition of the new Organic Waste Processing Facility’s (OWPF) Certificate of Approval (C of A) issued by Ministry of the Environment (MOE). The condition requires the City to no longer collect organic waste in bags, including compostable plastic bags.

“Ensuring the new organics facility complies with MOE regulations is a top priority,” said Dean Wyman, Manager of Solid Waste Resources. “Converting to a cart-based collection system will mean less waste in the landfill, which everyone in Guelph can be proud of.”

Conversion will be phased in over a three year period, starting in 2012, to help manage the costs of the conversion.

The City has also been approved for a $1.3M Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF) grant from Waste Diversion Ontario which it will use to cover a portion of the capital costs of converting the Dry (recyclables) stream to a cart-based system.

The City considered several alternatives to waste collection methods that require bags. One included converting the organics stream alone to carts which would require investing in retrofitting the City’s collection fleet. In the end Council approved the conversion of all three streams—wet, dry and waste—which requires new automated trucks to collect the carts.

Council’s decision is supported by a third party peer review conducted by BMA Management Consulting Inc. which concluded the most cost efficient option over the long-term is converting to the fully automated cart collection system.

This method of collection is regarded as an industry best practice and many Ontario municipalities have similar systems in place. Guelph’s new system will increase waste diversion, create operational efficiencies, and brings with it the following benefits: more frequent and convenient yard waste pick up; less waste sent to landfill; and a reduction in the City’s carbon footprint because four fewer collection trucks will be required.

About the new Organic Waste Processing Facility (OWPF)
Guelph's new state of the art OWPF is scheduled to begin operating in fall 2011 and will be located at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre, 110 Dunlop Drive. This Facility will process Guelph’s wet waste stream (organic waste) into clean, organic compost. The OWPF is expected to increase Guelph's diversion rate by 10 per cent.

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