October 20, 2009 | General

Expanding Organics Collection

BioCycle October 2009, Vol. 50, No. 10, p. 44
Compost Canada
Susan Antler

THE Region of Niagara, located in southern Ontario between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, has relaunched its curbside source separated organics diversion program for single and multifamily dwellings. The Region, which has an objective of 65 percent waste diversion from landfill by 2012, serves over 400,000 residents throughout 12 municipalities. Free 13-gallon green bins were provided to households in an effort to ‘retrieve’ organic residuals, estimated to make up 36 percent of the area’s waste-resource stream.
Weekly organics collection service is provided. Residents can either place organic residuals directly in the green bin or use certified compostable liners. Leaf and yard waste can be set out in open-top, reusable metal or plastic containers as well as kraft paper bags. Regular plastic bags are not accepted. Additional spring and fall branch collection is also offered. “The Region has achieved great success with the relaunch of its Green Bin program – increasing participation by 52 percent,” says Tim Rigby, Niagara Regional Councilor.
Collected organics are taken for composting to Walker Industries, a private, fifth-generation, family-owned waste management business. With the awarding of a 20-year contract to process the Region’s organics, Walker Industries built a GORE™ Cover composting system. The facility is designed to process a minimum of 40,000 metric tons/year.
The official opening was in June 2009 with Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen, in attendance. “By recognizing the value inherent in the waste stream, composting facilities like this build, support and enhance innovations that will drive a new green economy,” he noted.

The city of Ottawa, Ontario, capital of Canada, began rolling out its Green Bin program in September, distributing carts and kitchen containers to about 240,000 homes. The roll out will be completed by mid-December; collection starts in January 2010 for most homes. Single residential properties and low-rise multifamily residences (six units or less) will receive collection service initially; remaining multiunit housing with curbside collection will receive green bins by September 2010.
The city estimates that about 45 percent (by weight) of household discards are compostable organic material that can now be diverted. Ottawa is using Norseman Plastic’s new Green Bin+, a 21-gallon cart fitted for pick up by an automatic lifter on collection vehicles. Households can include food waste and yard trimmings, soiled paper and pizza boxes, animal bedding and other household organics. Plastic bags of any kind, including compostable varieties, as well as diapers and sanitary products, are not allowed. Collection will be weekly during spring, summer and fall, and biweekly during winter. All source separated organics will be taken to an enclosed composting facility owned and operated by Orgaworld Canada.

The Compost Canada column in the August 2009 issue, “Act Now To Support Ontario Composters,” described a policy shift under consideration by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to include compost products that make fertilizer claims in its Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste (MHSW) plan. In late September, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment announced its approval of the MHSW plan, accepting that composted manure and compost with N-P-K claims be part of this program.
If there is any good news about this development it’s that the final submitted version removed – for the interim – the proposed $0.41/kilogram (or $7.60/18 kg bag) charge, pending the reality of Year I financials being in place to determine the costs that impacted compost brands will incur. The focus now has to be to ensure that there are no returns of compost at Municipal Hazardous Waste depots. No returns means no fees.
It is very important that all compost brand owners have their eyes wide open as to the potential impact on their marketing claims, labeling, brands and programs. And consider the opportunities available to work collectively to make the best of the program approved.
The Compost Council of Canada’s upcoming regional workshops and our website will provide additional details and various next step options. Organizations selling bag-based compost brands in Ontario will have to sign up with the Stewardship Ontario program, registering their brands and sales figures and preparing for ongoing involvement and potential payment into this program.
On behalf of our Council, we sincerely thank all BioCycle readers who gave of their time, wisdom and support to comment on this Ontario initiative. Letters of support were submitted, providing excellent rationale to support the fact that compost should not be considered a municipal hazardous/special waste.
Your support is a strong indication of the collective mindset and passionate determination of those involved in organics residuals recovery to reach out and help each other to make compost happen. Thank you.

Susan Antler is Executive Director of The Compost Council of Canada.

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