The Environmental Services Update provided by Public Works in the February 6th meeting did not paint a pretty picture of our township’s waste generation situation.
The introduction of the mandatory use of clear bags in January 2020 was expected to ensure that everyone was recycling and would reduce the volume of waste headed for the Bensfort Rd. landfill. By the end of that year, all eight municipalities in Peterborough County had made this transition.
In November 2019, the township introduced a Kitchen Organic Waste program in town, and Molok kitchen organic containers for that material were installed at the Transfer station in the fall of 2020, allowing all residents to dispose of kitchen waste.
There were high hopes that the level of garbage generated in the township would fall as a result of these programs. However, these programs do not seem to have made much of an impact on the amount of waste generated by our residents. The County of Peterborough Waste Management Report indicates that we generate the largest amount of waste per capita: 212.59 kg, compared to the County average of 125.75 kg per capita.
In fairness, the per capita statistics are skewed against us as many households in other municipalities are seasonal. It has also been an unusual few years, as many people switched to working and studying at home. More time spent at home likely contributes to more garbage generated per household. In addition, municipal staff is not convinced that the per capita calculation fully incorporates our increased population.
According to this report, in 2022, curbside garbage in Cavan Monaghan rose 5.5%, while garbage dropped off at the Transfer station was 6.3% higher than the previous year, while across the County garbage volume fell by 4.5%. Ours was the only municipality saw a rise in their total garbage compared to the previous year.
The report also indicates that we are underperforming in our diversion rate, which is the percentage of total waste that is diverted from the landfill. And we are getting worse. In 2021 our diversion rate was 46%, falling to 44% in 2022. The County’s overall rate has been 51% in both years.
A chart in the report outlines the targets for the composition of waste in the future. In 2021, 56% of CM’s total waste was garbage. That year the County’s waste percentage was 49% and the target is 20%. In organic waste, we match the County’s level at 14% of total waste, with a target of more than double- 35%. The one area where we are ahead of our counterparts is in our blue box diversion. We currently divert 27% of our garbage through blue box diversion, whereas the County average is 21%. The new target is 30%, but that is perhaps less relevant due to the recycling transition to the Producer Responsibility model as outlined on p 3. We can do better. Let’s see if we can move that ranking away from the worst and closer to the first. KG