December 15, 2009 | General

Year End 'Gifts' For Organics Recovery

BioCycle December 2009, Vol. 50, No. 12, p. 53
Compost Canada
Susan Antler

ON November 17th, Madame Line Beauchamp, the Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment & Parks, announced a five-year Residuals Waste Management Policy. Included is a very significant investment in, and attention towards, the recovery of organic residuals. Supporting both anaerobic digestion and composting, the program intends to provide $650 million in infrastructure investment, available to both the public and private sectors. Funds for this investment will be sourced through a proposed increased landfill levy of $9.50/metric ton.
The Minister noted the significant impact that landfilling organic residuals has in the creation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the considerable positive GHG reduction advances that could be obtained through composting and/or anaerobic digestion.
A landfill ban on organic residuals (leaves and yard trimmings, food scraps, biosolids from both septage as well as wastewater sources) is targeted in a 10-year horizon, once sufficient organic residuals recovery infrastructure has been established. Financial guarantees pertaining to the installation, maintenance and, if necessary, closing, of organic residuals recovery facilities are to be introduced for both existing and future initiatives. A ban on the landfilling of paper and cardboard, recognizing the considerable recycling infrastructure that is already in place for these materials, is proposed for 2013.
This monumental proposal as well as other waste management initiatives that were simultaneously announced is now undergoing a 90-day public consultation process. The deadline for comments is February 9, 2010. Details of Quebec’s proposed organic residuals recovery advances as well as information about the comment process may be found by visiting:

Ontario’s compost regulatory framework was established in 1991 with the primary focus on recovery of leaves and yard materials. With ever expanding operational experience, potential feedstocks and market opportunities, there has been a long-time need for updated compost regulations in Ontario.
This situation is being addressed by the Ontario Ministry of Environment. On November 24th, Minister John Gerretsen announced revisions to the Guidelines for Composting Facilities and Compost Use in Ontario and supporting regulatory amendments.
Similar to Quebec’s announcement, the Ontario initiative recognizes the significance that organic residuals have on both landfill space and conditions, as well as the myriad of environmental benefits that can be attained through their management at composting facilities and the resulting product creations. In addition to leaves and yard trimmings, other organic residuals cited in the initiative include: household “green bin” waste; food from restaurants, hotels, schools and hospitals; residue from food processing operations and supermarkets; spoiled food; sewage biosolids and septage; and pulp and paper mill biosolids.
The proposed regulatory changes outline updated guidance on facility siting, design, equipment use and operating procedures, including feedstock control and odor prevention to help minimize environmental impacts. Also addressed are how to improve the quality of finished compost and facilitate the approvals process for both applicants and ministry staff.
The Guidelines propose the establishment of three new categories for finished compost (AA, A and B). Category differences reflect feedstock inputs, trace element levels and end market uses. Importantly, this recommendation helps align Ontario’s guidelines with those of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), long supported by other provincial jurisdictions across Canada.
A 60-day public consultation period is now underway with comments to be received by January 23, 2010. To provide additional opportunities to receive comments, the Ministry is hosting three sessions in London (December 14), Ottawa (December 16) and Toronto (January 12). To access Ontario’s proposal, please visit:; referencing EBR Registry Number 010-6658.


Ottawa, Ontario, capital of Canada, has been selected as the site for the Compost Council of Canada’s 20th Anniversary Conference, to be held on September 22-24, 2010. Over these years, there have been a few moments when the possibilities of moving forward seemed unlikely, but many more moments of gigantic leaps of happenings that have made compost’s future in Canada bright. These are all reasons to celebrate the power of organic residuals and compost to make a real world of positive difference. We hope you will join us in our celebration.
To keep up-to-date on our party plans, stay tuned to this column as well as and

Susan Antler is Executive Director of the Compost Council of Canada, which is gearing up to start its 20th Anniversary celebrations in 2010.

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