North Grenville looks north to process organic waste

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North Grenville is in the process of finding a processor to take the Municipality’s organic waste. At the council meeting on September 1, council passed a resolution to enter into a contract with Emterra Environmental to carry out waste management in the Municipality. This includes a new organic waste program that will be available to all North Grenville residents, both rural and urban.

Although the new contract with Emterra will start on November 1, the organic waste pick-up will be implemented after the Municipality is able to provide some education to the public about what it is and how it works. Some residents are not happy about the idea of organic waste pick up, either because they already compost themselves, or they don’t want to pay more for bag tags to fund the program.

Councillor John Barclay, who has been working on the waste management file for over a year, says that, according to their waste audits, about 50% of the garbage in North Grenville is organic waste. This means that with the implementation of the organics program, residents should be able to decrease the amount of garbage they put out by half. “Even if the cost of the bag tag goes up by a buck, the average household should see some savings in putting out fewer bags,” Councillor Barclay said.

He also noted that there are lots of things, like animal products and dairy, that you can’t compost in your backyard, but which the green bin program is set up to accept. “People might struggle during the winter in terms of compositing,” he adds. “They might compost in the shoulder seasons, the spring and the fall, but over the winter they might use the green bin.”

Councillor Kristin Strackerjan has also been working on the file for over a year. She spearheaded composting workshops in 2019 and facilitated the distribution of around 70 free compost bins in the community. As a result of these workshops, they found that there was an appetite in North Grenville for diverting organic waste out of the regular garbage. Through the workshop and staff’s municipal waste audit, they also found out how many people, even in the rural areas, weren’t compositing. Kristin says that this new organic waste program will give those who are not comfortable composting another option. She also mentioned that the province is indicating that organic waste will be banned from regular garbage disposal in the next few years. “It’s not going to be the solution for everybody; but it’s going to be the solution for the majority of people,” she said.

Staff have been working hard at finding a good destination for North Grenville’s organic waste. Earlier this year, they identified the possibility of entering a contract with the City of Ottawa to have them process our organic waste with their own. According to the CBC, the City is currently in a 20-year contract with Convertus.

The potential contract has been rubber stamped by Ottawa’s standing committee on environmental protection, water and waste management, as they see some significant fiscal and environmental benefits to the deal. However, it still has to be passed by Ottawa City Council, hopefully this week. Councillor Barclay says that, should the deal be approved, it will be a very good thing for North Grenville’s organic waste management program. “This piggy backing on the Ottawa contract is a real feather in the cap for staff and Public Works, because it certainly makes the green bin program a lot easier to manage, and there are some significant [cost] savings too,” he said.

Director of Public Works, Karen Dunlop, says that this contract with the City of Ottawa is just one possibility that staff will be bringing back to council in October. “The idea is that we will have a contract with the City of Ottawa to utilize the processing facility they use, should it be accepted and be the most reasonable option for North Grenville,” she said.

John Barclay is very proud of the work of municipal staff, like Engineering Technologist Brandon Shipman, who has worked hard at finding the best option for waste management in the Municipality. “I’m really proud of the Public Works Department, because they got ahead of the curve on this,” he said. “I feel very positive about it.”

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