The Municipality of North Grenville will be implementing organic waste pick up starting November 1. The decision was made as a result of public consultation regarding the future of waste management in the community, which included town hall meetings, a survey, and consultation with the Municipality’s Environmental Action Advisory Committee. The survey found that 72% of urban and 54% of rural respondents voted in favour of an organics program in the Municipality. “The overall feeling from these engagements was that North Grenville was looking for a progressive and innovative approach to waste in the community,” said North Grenville’s Engineering Technologist, Brandon Shipman, who presented the report to council.
This consultation was undertaken partially because the Municipality’s waste management contract was up for renewal, but also to address some upcoming changes to provincial policy involving waste management. These include the possible ban of organic waste in regular garbage disposal across the province, and the move towards full producer responsibility when it comes to the blue box program. As part of the Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016, producers will be fully responsible for paying for the recycling of their packaging by 2025.
Brandon explained that the Municipality has two options when it comes to the changes in the blue box program. They can continue to administer the program and have the cost paid for by the producers, or have the producers operate the blue box program themselves.
North Grenville council passed a resolution at a special council meeting on September 1 to award the waste management contract to Emterra Environmental. This new contract will include biweekly solid waste collection, dual stream (plastics and paper) recycling collection, weekly separated organics collection, and curbside leaf and yard waste and bulky item collection up to four times a year, respectively. According to the report, it is estimated that this new contract will cost the Municipality roughly $375,000 more than what was previously spent on the waste management contract, in the first year. This includes the cost to purchase the green bins used for the organic waste program, which is estimated to cost $176,750. It does not include the cost of the yard waste and heavy item collection, as this is a new program to North Grenville and staff could not estimate the values using previous data.
Staff will be continuing to look into possible partnerships that would create cost savings for processing both recycling and organics. They will also be looking into the revision of the bag tag model, which is necessary to help pay for the increase in cost associated with more waste management services in the Municipality. “The cost of the additional programs could be divided between taxation and bag tag costs, as council sees fit,” Brandon said.
With the organics program, staff estimate that they will see a 35% drop in the tonnage of garbage collected by the Municipality. Brandon also noted that with every 25¢ increase in bag tag costs, they estimate that they will see a $60,000 increase in revenue, even with less garbage being collected through the new program. To cover the services offered by this new waste management contract, they are looking at a possible increase of $1 in the cost of bag tags in the Municipality. “It is a user pay system, so the bag tags, from a departmental standpoint, is the way we recommend moving forward,” Director of Public Works, Karen Dunlop, said at the meeting. Staff will be looking into the bag tag model of cost recovery and will be coming back to council with a concrete number for consideration in early October.
Mayor Peckford believes that the recommendations from staff reflected the appetite of North Grenville residents for a more progressive waste management system, and that securing the organic waste pick up for the Municipality is important given the way the provincial regulations regarding waste management are moving. “We could do what we’ve been doing for decades and just stare down the future and wish everyone good luck, or we could, at this stage, attempt to be more innovative, and I think more prudent, in the long run in terms of what may be coming down the pipe,” she said.