Take the initiative
Before the election, the Liberal government announced it would try to curb organic waste from ending up in landfills.
It’s unclear how the current government will dismantle – I mean handle – the Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario portfolio.
As it stands, the province is seeking to ban organic waste from landfills and will tell municipalities who meet population thresholds to offer curbside pick-up of organics.
The county said it sees the “most practical and cost-effective” composting happening in the home. One-third of waste in Wellington County is organic, which could be diverted from the landfill.
But it’s not a simple thing to do. This waste attracts pests, and if you don’t have a use for it, it just collects unused in a forgotten back corner of your lot. But what if you live in an apartment complex, or have a tiny yard?
County councillor Andy Lennox said the county needs to think long term. It’s headed for further intensification of population density within urban areas, and there will be less opportunity for backyard composting.
The county needs to help set an example here by having organic waste collection options – whether it’s drop off stations at the landfills or monthly curbside pick up within urban areas.
Yes, the county doesn’t meet the threshold density (yet), and yes, waiting to see what the province is going to do is important, but the county can take the initiative here and set an example for other places in the province like it is doing with its community improvement plan.
I can’t remember a time when composting hasn’t been a part of my life.
So when Wellington County council recently discussed the possibility of organic waste pickup for all county residents I was confused.
Yes, taking the organic waste to the backyard can be freezing in winter and bugs can be annoying in the summer, but the same frustrations will persist with curbside pickup.
The county’s spur to investigate is the Food and Organic Waste Framework set out by the Ontario Liberal government, which states a ban on food and organic waste will be phased into every municipality beginning in 2022.
However, with the new Conservative government in place, who knows if it will come to fruition. And really, how can you enforce zero food and organic waste at curbside pickup or transfer stations?
I’ve never seen the person who picks up the waste go through the yellow bag.
While it could be logistically challenging to have a composter or use the resulting rich soil, why not ask neighbours or a community garden down the street if it’s okay to give it to them?
Better yet, why not partner with a neighbour or a community garden to dispose of the soil?
Also, it’s free. In a user-pay waste pick-up or drop-off system home composting can make those yellow garbage bags stretch longer or decrease the bag size.
Either way, county councillor Doug Breen makes sense. It’s unlikely the waste collected will outweigh the negative impacts of trucks traveling all over the county for a few users.