After serving the Region of Peel for more than two decades, the Britannia Sanitary Landfill Site in Mississauga, Ontario closed permanently on June 29, 2002, having reached full capacity. Landfill services will not be replaced. Instead, waste will be hauled to Michigan on a short-term basis while a long-term “made-in-Peel” solution to the Region’s waste disposal needs is developed.
“Converting waste to energy, implementing a three-bag standard for garbage collection, providing a variety of recycling opportunities, and initiating region-wide organics collection are key components of the region’s long-term strategy to divert 70 per cent of residential waste from landfill by 2016,” says Andrew Pollock, the region’s director of waste management.
Waste management system
In 2001 the region diverted 43 per cent (172,000 tonnes) of waste, a significant increase from the previous year’s rate of 28 per cent.
In preparation for the closure of the Britannia landfill, the KMS Peel Inc. energy-from-waste facility located in Brampton was expanded to process an additional 36,000 tonnes of waste. At the KMS facility, residential waste is burned to produce steam, which powers a turbine engine to produce electrical power. (Sixty per cent of the region’s residential waste is converted into electrical energy at this facility.)
In 2001, 149,000 tonnes of waste was converted to energy and approximately 43,000 megawatts were sold to Ontario Hydro, enough to supply approximately 5,500 homes for a year.
Waste not directed to KMS is sent to Toronto’s Disco Road Transfer Station where it is loaded on to transport trailers and shipped to the Carleton Farms Landfill in Michigan.
The three-bag standard program was first implemented on a voluntary basis in June 2001. In February 2002, the Region started enforcing the program and as of September residents are required to purchase a $1-tag for each additional bag of garbage. This program alone is expected to reduce garbage by 5 per cent each year for the first two years. Eventually, the region plans to move toward a full user-pay system. Currently, 88 per cent of households meet the three-bag standard on a weekly basis. On average, each household disposes of 1.8 bags of garbage per week.
“Besides establishing a fair, standard base level of service to residents, the three-bag standard is intended to reduce waste by encouraging participation in existing waste reduction initiatives such as curbside recycling, recycling depots and Community Recycling Centres (CRCs),” adds Mr. Pollock.
In 2001 the Region collected 10 per cent more recyclable materials from the curb than in 2000, amounting to more than 108,200 tonnes of recyclable materials including blue and grey box items, appliances, yard waste and other organic material. Besides curbside collection, the region’s CRCs and recycling depots make it easy for residents and small businesses to dispose of recyclable items such as wood, metal, tires as well as reusable goods and household hazardous waste.
Last year these facilities helped divert 7,400 tonnes of recyclable material and 110 tonnes of reusable goods. Plus, 1,370 tonnes of hazardous items such as paint, stains, varnishes, solvents and aerosol products were diverted, up 22 per cent from the previous year.
In addition to the opening of the Brampton CRC this summer a region-wide network of CRCs will be developed in the next three years. It’s estimated that by 2010 these additional centres will divert over 43,000 tonnes of recyclable material and 1,400 tonnes of reusable items each year.
The Peel Organics Demonstration Project, a study involving the weekly curbside collection of organics from 1,800 households in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon, is another long-term waste management initiative to divert waste from landfill. The program will investigate the effectiveness of separating organic material from waste, the viability of different organic collection containers and the efficiency of waste collection vehicles. Information and feedback gathered from the study will directly impact the development and implementation of a region-wide organics collection program slated for 2005. (See “Peel’s Organics Program” in the August/September 2002 edition.)
In May, residents participating in the demonstration program were asked to separate organic material such as dairy products, fruits, vegetables meat, bones, plate scrapings and used/wet paper products from garbage by placing it in curbside collection containers provided by the Region.
“Supplementing our existing garbage, yard waste and backyard composting programs with organics collection will increase recovery rates for organic material and bring us one step closer to our goal,” says Mr. Pollock.
For more information, call the Region of Peel’s WASTELINE at 905-791-9499.
Deborah Everest-Hill is a writer for the communications services department of the Region of Peel, Ontario.