BRUCE COUNTY – The 2020 waste management update presented last week to the transportation and environmental services committee included discussion on the possibility of diverting organics from Bruce County garbage.
With the amount of space left in the county’s landfill capacity (approximately 32 years) getting smaller every year, and the increasing difficulty in getting new landfill sites, there’s a greater interest in measures to extend the life of existing landfills.
As County Coun. Randy Roppel, deputy mayor of Kincardine said, “We can no longer afford to put garbage in a hole and hide it with dirt.”
Roppel suggested it’s time to revisit the possibility of incinerating garbage.
There was also discussion about recycling Styrofoam. Warden Janice Jackson, mayor of South Bruce Peninsula, inquired about Brockton’s program, that sees the bulky material collected and compressed.
County Coun. Chris Peabody, mayor of Brockton, said, “We just sent a huge truckload two weeks ago … your works guy should talk to ours.”
Peabody noted prices for recycled material have rebounded – one tonne of plastic water bottles is now worth the same as one tonne of aluminum cans.
It was construction waste that interested County Coun. Steve Hammell, mayor of Arran-Elderslie. He’d like to see more materials reclaimed from construction sites.
County Coun. Luke Charbonneau, mayor of Saugeen Shores, said, “We’re definitely looking at organics diversion.”
In response to a question about a presentation by Georgian Bluffs on making biogas and diverting organics, Miguel Pelletier, director of transportation and environmental services, said their program will have to be expanded or shut down.
“They need to upgrade,” he said.
This opens the possibility of other municipalities shipping organic waste to Georgian Bluffs.
Pelletier said the value of extending the life of landfill sites may make the cost of shipping such waste worthwhile.
The report presented to the committee looked at changes in provincial legislation and new regulations that have been – or soon will be – in place to support those changes. These include the new Waste Free Ontario Act and the Environmental Protection Act. The Blue Box program is still missing direction on how to implement the program and how it will be enforced.
The Bruce Area Solid Waste Recycling (BASWR) Blue Box program diverted 5561.19 tonnes of waste in 2020. In 2021, the new Blue Box legislation and the Cleanfarms Agricultural Waste Recycling trial project should be in place. The county will also investigate of new waste diversion programs. The development of a new county waste management master plan will be proposed in the 2022 business plan and budget.
Brockton has three landfill sites. The Greenock site has 52 years left, based on numbers for the past five years. The Hanover-Walkerton site has 27 years remaining. The Brant site has 5.5 years remaining for area B and 14.3 years for area C.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times