It’s time to sort out our waste

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by Councillor Kristin Strackerjan

To say that the attendees of the Municipality’s Discussion Forum held on March 25 were enthusiastic about all things waste may be a bit of an understatement. The Municipal Council and Staff were all pleasantly surprised by the crowd of approximately 40 residents who showed up for the Waste Reduction Discussion Forum, ready to voice their concerns, opinions and thoughts on this subject. A crowd passionate about reducing waste!

Did you know that a 2017 waste audit in North Grenville revealed that 56% of the weight of our household garbage was organic material? This was almost double the amount seen in 2009. Moreover, the amount of waste that the Municipality pays to have picked up and transferred has seen a dramatic increase in the last few years. As a growing community, we can only expect these numbers to increase unless we make significant and meaningful changes. Some of these changes will be mandated by the provincial government via the Waste Free Ontario Act.

During the Discussion Forum, results of the 2019 Waste Reduction Survey were presented. The survey indicated, among other things, that there was some interest from both rural and urban residents to see an expanded waste collection program that includes organics, as well as recycling and garbage pick-up. The frequency of a curbside organics program, as well as bulky items/yard waste pick-up, were also areas of interest that will require additional investigation. Our current waste management contract has been extended by one year and will expire in November 2020. This will allow for greater public consultation on the way forward.

Backyard composting was not explored in the survey, but it was discussed at length at the Discussion Forum. Many residents questioned whether curbside organics collection was the best way forward, calling into question the environmental impact of the collection vehicles and the additional costs to run the program. Ideas on how we could take care of our own food scraps – from chickens to DIY backyard composters – were discussed.

The Municipality has recognized the need for more information regarding composting and how residents, even those with the smallest of yards, can manage their own organics waste. If we truly want to tackle reducing waste, we need to offer affordable, simple solutions.

As a result of the input from our residents, your Municipal Council is exploring options to provide a limited number of backyard composters to NG residents at a significantly reduced cost as part of a waste reduction pilot program. As the saying goes, ‘when you know better, you do better’. Therefore, starting in mid-May, the Municipality will coordinate Composting 101 sessions, free of charge, for North Grenville residents. These sessions will be required in order to benefit from the composter pilot program. Attendees can expect to learn the dos and don’ts of backyard composting and they will have the opportunity to talk with a local expert. What a deal!

While we await the final decision and details from Council, expected on May 14, think about how you manage waste in your household. Even the smallest of changes can have a huge impact.

For an opportunity to pass along your reusable, unwanted items, check out the NGrecycles.ca website for details on North Grenville’s Curbside Give Away Weekend Event on Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23. This site is a great resource for all things related to waste management in North Grenville.

Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Rot.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Re: “It’s time to sort out our waste” by Kristin Strackerjan For over 20+ years our family resided in rural N.G. We had many gardens including: flower, shrub, and of course vegetable. All year round we put our fruit and vegetable scraps in the composter stirred it up and in summer added the deadheaded flowers and the next spring when we opened the bottom of the composter out fell the “black gold”, organic matter, full of big, fat worms. It was wonderful. The drawback to home composters can be “wildlife” getting in. Although the last composters we purchased on our property had locked lids which helped keep “critters” away. There are so many types of composters these days it would be beneficial to shop around to find the best type for your property. Living in an apartment now I almost cry every time I dump my fruit and vegetable scraps into the regular garbage. Then in the spring I look at the displays of garden soil at the plant nurseries, grocery stores, department store, and hardware stores and the huge bags of “dirt” people are spending hard earned dollars on when all that is needed is a backyard composter. Our daughter and family live in a small town north of Toronto population of 11,046. I looked it up before I started this letter. It is connected to a larger town of 18,300. That area has a composting program. Our daughter has a little green bin sitting on her kitchen counter top where she and her family dump their food scraps. Once it is filled it goes into a large green bin which is picked up every two weeks by the garbage contractor and dumped at a composting site where it is stirred and maintained. Each spring people drive from miles around the area to fill their truck beds and utility trailers with FREE DIRT, full of healthy, fat worms. So simple, so practical, and so environmentally friendly. NO large black “plastic” bags of garden soil to be purchased and emptied into home gardens while the garden soil bag is placed in the garbage to be taken to the landfill. I look forward to the reading the results of the May 14th Council Meeting in next week’s NG Times. I truly hope the program will get approval and will proceed in this area.. Some people comment on the extra cost of trucks, fuel, etc for the recycling trucks but I feel in the long run we will all benefit from the reduction in the landfill. Not a plan for the “sort sighted” individuals in the community but an investment for the long term gain of the whole community.

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