Letter to the Editor

Stop Trashing Residents Using ‘Garbage’ Garbage Numbers!!

I’m fed up with hearing that Cavan Monaghan is the “worst in the County” for solid waste.  Our family composts, recycles and reuses.  Our diversion rate (by weight) is in the high eighties/ninety.  Our neighbours are similar in their habits.

Looking at the Public Works comparison report closely, I found the numbers used to calculate kg/capita and diversion rates aren’t ‘apples to apples’, to the disadvantage of Cavan Monaghan.  For example: Selwyn doesn’t include their landfill tonnage; all other Townships’ populations are grossed up (one over 150%) while CM’s is grossed down by 15% for the kg/capita calculation; and none of the Molok (at the Transfer Station) or home composting (very common for rural areas) tonnages are used for the diversion rate.

“I’d suggest that the comparison between townships is not really apples to apples,” said Kerri Snoddy, County’s Waste Manger when I asked about these issues and comparisons.

As a Township, CM is growing and diversifying.  It means the waste patterns will follow suite.  Some waste patterns are controllable other aren’t (diapers, soilage).

When someone says we’re bad, ask ‘compared to what’ and check their numbers.   It seems we’re not so bad after all.

Al Steel, Cavan

Editor’s Note:

Thank you to Mr. Steele for pointing out the discrepancies in some of the County garbage report statistics.

Prompted by his letter, I reviewed the per capita garbage calculations reported in the County Report used as the basis for last month’s article about Cavan Monaghan’s garbage generation.  Using the report’s waste totals for each municipality and the 2021 Census populations, I recalculated these numbers.

Not surprisingly, the results were dramatically different.  Cavan Monaghan’s per capita garbage fell into the mid-range, at 174.2 kg per capita.  Ahead by a large margin were municipalities with large seasonal populations, led by Havelock Bethune at 272.4 kg per capita, followed by North Kawartha at 271.13 and Trent Lakes at 201.8 per capita.These calculations assign all of the garbage generation in each municipality to permanent residents only, ignoring seasonal residents, which skews in favour of Cavan Monaghan which has very few seasonal residents.  Of course neither picture is accurate: the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  However a report where statistics are massaged for some analytic purpose without disclosing that adjustment deserves a failing grade when it comes to accuracy and transparency. KG

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