Ontario composting rates jumped more than five per cent in 2012, according to new data from Waste Diversion Ontario.
In 2012, waste collectors rounded up 927,351 tonnes of residential organic waste across Ontario. These municipal numbers represent a 5.3 per cent increase over the 2011 organics collection quantity of 880,126 tonnes.
“Back in the early days of urban history, most garbage was food scraps and coal ash,” wrote Michael Scott, CEO of Waste Diversion Ontario, in a statement about the new compost stats. “The times may have changed with the introduction of new products and packaging, but people will always need to eat,” he added.
Almost half of the total organics collected in 2012 was kitchen organics collected primarily at the curb, with a small amount from depots. Based on current curbside collection rates alone, if all 5,192,900 households in Ontario had access to curbside collection of organic waste, another 580,000 tonnes of organic material could be diverted from landfill. This would translate into a 12 percent increase in the province's overall residential diversion rate, which for 2012 stood at 47.19 per cent –meaning that the provincial residential diversion rate would rise to nearly 60 per cent.
Five new municipalities stated organics collection programs between 2011-2012, Waste Diversion Ontario found. That equates to more than 30,000 new households.
“It is important to note that current kitchen organics programs in the province are voluntary,” wrote Scott. “It is up to each municipality to decide if they want to operate such a program. For many municipalities with smaller populations, doing so might be cost-prohibitive,” he added.
Organic waste includes yard waste (grass clippings and sticks), leaves, Christmas trees, bulky yard waste (large tree branches), and household or kitchen organics (food waste and food-soiled paper waste). Ontario has experienced a 39 per cent increase in the amount of all organics collected since 2007, which represents an average annual increase of 7.7 per cent.
Guelph recently earned the top spot in Ontario for the best residential waste diversion rate in 2012. The city also came in first overall in 2012 for diverting the highest percentage of residential organic waste at 31.63 per cent of all residential waste in their program.