Tag Archives: compost

Smells, Peels, Poop and Pop Cans, Part 2 about Waste Management, My Second Priority

Peels

My pledge: I will continue to listen to your concerns and work on ways to make your green bin better to use. I will find ways to make the green bin a better bet for your tax dollar.

“If the people of Waterloo had to rotate living throughout Waterloo, they would all use their green bins,” the lady at the door in Westvale said.

That recent smell from the landfill is from disturbed organics. The very organics that can go in your green bin. They also create the methane that needs to be burned off or used as fuel by Toromont, a company at the landfill.

compost container.

Councillor Jean Haalboom’s lovely compost container

If people use their green bins, the old leftovers, peelings and even dog poo and cat litter, will be sent to the Guelph composting plant to be turned into soil. Like the aged manure you can buy at the garden store to fertilize your plants, this soil will never smell again and it’s great for farmland and gardens. It’s not just a case of helping the landfill last longer, though that is good, you will also be helping your neighbour’s quality of life.

My family has reduced the “yuk” factor by using the new biodegradable plastic bags. They can be bought at Basics or Canadian Tire and other stores. They must have a certain symbol on them. On twitter and in discussion with constituents, ideas have ranged from freezing peelings until collection day to putting egg cartons on the bottom of the pail to prevent bags from sticking. Here is a fantastic page from the Region of Waterloo website that gives tons of information about using your green bin.

http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/aboutTheEnvironment/Green_Bin_Organics.asp

 

There has been some criticism in the paper about the cost of the green bin contact. You should know that the green bin pilot was a great success. People were phoning up the region wondering when they would get their green bin. Then came the roll out and a lack of response. The current contract was the lowest cost option but only if people use their bin.

Next term, council must decide whether to have green bin and recycling every week with regular garbage every other week or bag tags or other ideas to increase use.

People have also suggested less pick up stops with several houses putting their garbage in one spot to save money. Lots to think about.

Waste Management Part 1

Waste Management Part 3

Waste Management Part 4

 

 

 

Veggie Peels Banned from Landfill?

Yesterday staff brought council a proposal for a pilot program for green bins in apartments, industrial and commercial, also restaurants. You would never know that by the headline in the Record, as staff let it slip they are planning to ban compost from the landfill in 2013 or beyond.

This caught us by surprise, having not been mentioned before.  Council has the final say with this proposal and we aren’t keen on it at the moment. 30 percent of waste going to the landfill is compostable, but we have only just begun the green bin program.

It seems to me that people and staff and reporters are focusing on waste being diverted from the landfill and sent somewhere else to stop the dump from filling up. Which it will in 20 or so years.

That’s not what it’s all about. The waste includes all things that can be composted. Lettuce leaves, paper towels, egg shells, potato peels, etc.  This waste is taken to a composting facility where, like the peel or shell that used to fall on the forest floor, it rots into dirt. Very good quality dirt.

This dirt is then used to feed new plants and the circle of ecology continues.  When organics go into the landfill in plastic garbage bags, they may not even rot, in anycase, they stay filling up the landfill,  no use at all. What a waste.

My concerns yesterday were with the costs of the pilot project if it becomes permanent. As I saw in the composting centre in Whistler, which is only restaurant organics, restaurants create a lot of compostable garbage. We are looking at daily pick up of several bins from each restaurant. The pilot, not so expensive, but I asked staff how much it would cost the taxpayers to have the Region fund the pilot permanently. This is important as presently restaurant waste is trucked away by a company the restaurant pays for.

If compost is banned from the landfill, where will this compost be trucked to by the firm hired by the restaurant? Michigan? A field somewhere? 

Or will the region pick up the tab for pick up? A huge cost. 

I’m glad this is just a pilot at this stage.

Answer to My Salty Compost Question

Here is the reply from staff on my question about salty compost.
“the quick answer is no we don’t have an issue with high salt content. Our current processor, IMS in Thorold has provided lab analysis indicating that the salt content is below existing provincial/CCME guidelines and they have no problems selling our finished compost to end markets such as golf courses, landscapers, etc”

Our Green Bin program isn’t like Toronto’s

The Toronto Star had a big article yesterday on the huge mess Toronto’s green bin program is in (This is besides the garbage strike) http://www.thestar.com/article/660864 for details.

I should tell you that Toronto’s green bin problems are common knowledge in the waste biz. Many private contractors who compost green waste won’t take their garbage while they want Waterloo Region’s compost.

The main problem is that Toronto lets people put their green compost in plastic bags, mostly the infamous plastic shopping bag. Toronto says they allowed plastic bags so more people would compost. That makes no sense at all if you can’t compost the result!  We insist that people use paper compostable bags –kraft bags, similiar to those used to pick up leaf waste. We also do not accept disposable diapers. The problem is the plastic in the waste stream. Garbage rots quickly and the plastic contaminates the compost so it is unusable.

This is one reason why we are rolling out our program slowly. So when we do it, it will work!

By the way, for regular household garbage, you can get garbage bags made of cornstarch and can use the kraft bags also. A report on plastic shopping bag education is coming back to Regional council in the fall.

We recently had the Record note that our compost is going to Thorold. We have investigated building our own composting facility but it would cost 30 to 40 milion dollars and there would still be smell problems. I recently visited a composting facility in Whistler, but it was noted by the manager, that this facility is kilometers away from residents.

We were going to send the compost to a facility just outside Waterloo Region but it didn’t work out so now we are into another tender with hopes the new facility won’t be too far away.

Landfill and waste is a serious problem because no matter what you do, sometimes it smells. And no one wants one near them. But what is the alternative? Many communities are going to incineration, but that also has problems.

I am asking staff about one problem noted in the Star article. Household waste compost can be very salty due to the huge amount of salt we have in our diet.  Supposedly if it is properly cured there isn’t a problem. Will keep you posted.

All about the green program and what can go in it, is listed here.

http://www.region.waterloo.on.ca/web/region.nsf/97dfc347666efede85256e590071a3d4/f853783700a202418525726e007445ba!OpenDocument

Our Green Bin program isn't like Toronto's

The Toronto Star had a big article yesterday on the huge mess Toronto’s green bin program is in (This is besides the garbage strike) http://www.thestar.com/article/660864 for details.

I should tell you that Toronto’s green bin problems are common knowledge in the waste biz. Many private contractors who compost green waste won’t take their garbage while they want Waterloo Region’s compost.

The main problem is that Toronto lets people put their green compost in plastic bags, mostly the infamous plastic shopping bag. Toronto says they allowed plastic bags so more people would compost. That makes no sense at all if you can’t compost the result!  We insist that people use paper compostable bags –kraft bags, similiar to those used to pick up leaf waste. We also do not accept disposable diapers. The problem is the plastic in the waste stream. Garbage rots quickly and the plastic contaminates the compost so it is unusable.

This is one reason why we are rolling out our program slowly. So when we do it, it will work!

By the way, for regular household garbage, you can get garbage bags made of cornstarch and can use the kraft bags also. A report on plastic shopping bag education is coming back to Regional council in the fall.

We recently had the Record note that our compost is going to Thorold. We have investigated building our own composting facility but it would cost 30 to 40 milion dollars and there would still be smell problems. I recently visited a composting facility in Whistler, but it was noted by the manager, that this facility is kilometers away from residents.

We were going to send the compost to a facility just outside Waterloo Region but it didn’t work out so now we are into another tender with hopes the new facility won’t be too far away.

Landfill and waste is a serious problem because no matter what you do, sometimes it smells. And no one wants one near them. But what is the alternative? Many communities are going to incineration, but that also has problems.

I am asking staff about one problem noted in the Star article. Household waste compost can be very salty due to the huge amount of salt we have in our diet.  Supposedly if it is properly cured there isn’t a problem. Will keep you posted.

All about the green program and what can go in it, is listed here.

http://www.region.waterloo.on.ca/web/region.nsf/97dfc347666efede85256e590071a3d4/f853783700a202418525726e007445ba!OpenDocument