Thursday, October 27, 2005

My cigarette butts are destined for the steps of city hall

Talking garbage:

As expected, the promised 'new and improved' London garbage calendar for 2005/2006 never did show up. I have it saved as a pdf file on my computer, because I don't want to waste ink printing the multi-page environmentally wasteful colour calendar. I never did determine what Waste Reduction Week was all about, but garbage collection did not take place last week, meaning garbage was piling up in the neighbourhood. Garbage collectors can look forward to overtime pay this week.

On the subject of garbage, Toronto city council are soon to impose further restrictions upon curbside trash pickup, which means less service and more work and cost for residents. Gods of the Copybook headings directs us to Paul Tuns and his household:

Today is the first day in the Tuns household of separating garbage into at least three categories: (loosely) recyclables, wet garbage and dry garbage. Beginning next week, the city of Toronto is making us (not just the Tuns household but the whole of North York) separate the garbage under threat of not collecting trash if there are orange peels and used paper towels mixed with unrecyclable plastic milk bags or dryer lint. And get this, while diapers are wet garbage, wet wipes to clean babies' bottoms are not and must be discarded separately. Complete lunacy. Anyway, during dinner this evening both my sons, ages 14 and 8, complained about the new garbage regime and asked if they could write letters of protest to the municipal council. My wife encouraged this as long as one of us adults looked over the letters before they were sent. I discouraged the endeavour suggesting that city councillors are fascists intent on controlling our lives by heavily regulating our garbage. Mrs. Tuns gave me a cross look indicative that I should not discourage any civic-minded activities in which the children may be inclined to participate.
Concerned that the province is considering turning London into a giant garbage dump, Anne Marie DeCicco suggests Londoners will soon be buying extra garbage receptacles to store their sorted garbage in.
Toronto-area table scraps will soon be deposited in London, once again raising concerns about the lack of a provincial plan to deal with garbage.

A Netherlands-based company, Orgaworld, has agreed to a 10-year contract to compost York Region's organic household waste at a new facility just south of Highway 401 near Wellington Road starting in January 2007.

[..] Plans for the compost project come as concern mounts in many Ontario communities that they will be forced to take Toronto's garbage if Michigan closes its borders to outside trash.

Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco said the province is making it harder for municipalities to solve their own trash problems because of the delays in approving new landfills and recycling facilities.

"I'm not blaming York because they're not left with a whole lot of options," DeCicco said yesterday.

"You can't handle these issues locally if the legislation isn't allowing you to do it," DeCicco said.

DeCicco warned the problem will only grow.

"The province is putting in place a 60 per cent diversion (from landfills), so municipalities will have to ship it somewhere else," DeCicco said.

[..] Having the facility built in London could be a bonus, said DeCicco, possibly saving trucking costs once the city starts collecting organic waste for composting.

"We may have to get into organic waste (recycling), so there may be an opportunity for us to do something with them just down the road, so it's a double-edged sword for us on this one," DeCicco said.
I am assuming our mayor's use of the term 'double-edged sword' in this context means you are damned if you do, damned if you don't if you are a Londoner.

From today's People's Press:
Even with a state-of-the-art composting facility setting up in London, Ontario's cities have little or no chance of meeting the province's 60-per-cent waste diversion target by 2008, say local waste industry experts.

Bob McCaig, owner of Green Lane Environmental in St. Thomas, said there aren't enough compost facilities up and running.

"It's not going to happen," said McCaig, who's been in the waste business more than 40 years. "The goal is laudable, but you need . . . technology in place."

McCaig made the comments yesterday while discussing the new composting operation he helped bring to London.

[..] The facility, expected to be operating by January 2007, also will process organic household waste from St. Thomas. That waste is now trucked to a Guelph-area facility.

York previously had a contract with a Newmarket company, but gave up after the firm was unable to eliminate odour problems.

McCaig said he gave up composting because of the same issue, though he faced fewer complaints because the site off Wellington Road, just south of Highway 401, is mostly rural.

"We just couldn't get the damn thing right," McCaig said.

The problem, McCaig explained, is the presence of proteins, such as meat scraps and oils.

"The major problem with organic decomposition is it needs to be aerated, with new air added all the time," McCaig said.

"Quite simply, no system in North America does that, so we needed to go to a closed system and not let the air get outside until it's cleaned."

McCaig asked consultants Conestoga Rovers and Associates to find a technology that worked. Enter Orgaworld.

"The neighbours can expect no impact," McCaig said.

"They will see a new facility that looks like a factory, that doesn't make noise, other than the odd truck going in and out, and . . . doesn't smell."
London smells already and it sounds like it is to get a lot stinkier. To transport the waste from York Region, the estimate is four to five trucks a day to deliver up to as much as 30,000 tonnes of waste. The 401 is to get a lot busier, and the smog much thicker, as more and more rotting garbage is shipped down the highway from regions other than just York. Do you suppose the benefits are totally outweighed by the costs of such a scheme?