In November, the township launched a pilot Organic Waste Program for Millbrook area residents to divert organic materials from the Bensfort landfill to help extend its dwindling life expectancy.
Students at Millbrook South/Cavan Public School have embraced the program with spectacular results. There are ten green bins in the school and kitchen catchers in every classroom, teachers’ room and Compass Early Learning rooms. Each day, Grade 8 students collect compost materials from each room, placing it in the green bins. The new green bin program has reduced garbage produced at the school dramatically. Garbage now consists primarily of foil food wrapping from granola bars, yogurt tubes and cracker packages which fill a single bag a day for the entire building, down from a daily average of five to six bags a day. Because it contains only food wrappings, the bag is very light which matters when it comes to tippage fees.
Many residents have also embraced the program. Director of Public Works Wayne Hancock suspects that roughly 60% of eligible addresses are using the bins based on counts provided by the collector. Because some residents put out their bins every week, he believes the count could actually be much higher.
The program has many benefits. Not only does it reduce the volume of trash destined for the landfill, but the diverted green waste is transformed into valuable products at SusGlobal Energy in Belleville where the material is processed. Using proprietary technology, the firm converts solid waste into high quality compost in a period of only 8 weeks in an enclosed plant. Liquid drained from the organic waste and used in the production of liquid fertilizers and biofuels, completing the circle of sustainability. All end products are tested by an accredited lab for quality control prior to distribution.
The timing of this program launch is strategic. Along with the switch to clear garbage bags, the township expects the organic waste program to significantly reduce the volume of waste originating from the township that winds up in the landfill. Hancock would like firm evidence of this reduction before negotiations begin for the next County Waste Management contract for the collection and disposal of waste. A more accurate demonstration of the volume of garbage we generate will hopefully combat the township’s reputation as a high-volume garbage producer and put us in a better bargaining position for the new long term contract. KG