Solid Waste & Recycling


More than a Peel

In recent years the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has been rolling out full scale SSO composting programs. This roll-out has now come back full circle to the Region of Peel (west of Toronto).

In recent years the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has been rolling out full scale SSO composting programs. This roll-out has now come back full circle to the Region of Peel (west of Toronto).

Peel was a pioneer, having provided a bi-weekly organics recycling program to Caledon residents since 1994. This first generation SSO program features a 240-litre cart to collect food waste and leaf-and-yard wastes. The organic wastes are taken to one of Canada’s first (and still operating) in-vessel composting facilities.

In 2002, Peel implemented a weekly organics recycling pilot project to 1,700 households in parts of Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon. Staff used the organics recycling programs in Caledon and the pilot areas to evaluate a range of criteria, including: different bin designs; household set-out rates; the effectiveness of public education and promotion initiatives; and, perceived barriers to participation. Based on this research, Peel Regional Council approved a recommendation from staff to implement a new organics recycling program throughout the region.

“The introduction of a new waste management program, such as organics recycling, requires a significant amount of behaviour change on behalf of residents,” says Andrew Pollock, Director of Waste Management. “Based on Peel’s history with organics recycling, staff were confident that a large scale organics recycling program could be implemented simultaneously in all three municipalities.”

On April 2, 2007, the region launched its weekly organics recycling program in the three municipalities; more than 285,000 households receive curbside waste collection services.

“The diversion of organic material from the waste stream will help the region reach its goal of diverting 70 per cent of waste from landfill by 2016,” says Emil Kolb, Regional Chair.

In February and March 2007, Peel delivered a green bin to each household that already receives curbside waste collection. Inside the bin was a small kitchen container, an instruction manual explaining how to participate in the program, a magnet listing all the items that can and cannot go into the organics bin, and Peel’s annual Waste Management Guide containing information on all of Peel’s waste and recycling programs.

A multi-faceted communications program to help to create awareness and support for the program started in February of this year and ran until June.

How it works

Green bin material is processed by the region and turned into compost, which can be used as a soil conditioner for vegetable and ornamental gardens, as mulch, and for top-dressing lawns.

Residents leave their organic material in their new green bin on their regularly scheduled weekly waste collection day, with their blue box recyclable material, yard waste and garbage.

The organic material is collected and processed at two facilities: the composting plant at the new Peel Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF — which also includes a materials recovery facility [MRF] and transfer station) in Brampton that can process 60,000 tonnes per year; and, the Caledon Composting Facility at the Caledon Landfill Site, which can process 12,000 tonnes of material per year.

The process at both composting sites is similar, with organic waste processed the day it ‘s received. After weighing each truck, material is emptied onto the tip floor, visually inspected for contamination (such as plastics), and a mix of yard waste and food waste is loaded into a shredder.

The organics plant at the IWMF utilizes a Vecoplan Shredder and six concrete tunnels (manufactured by Christiaens Group) to compost the shredded organic material. A series of conveyers automatically load the shredded material into the tunnels. After seven to 10 days in the tunnels, loaders move the material into trailers for transport to the new 10-acre compost curing pad in Caledon, where it’s placed in windrows for approximately three to four months. Curing is a secondary phase in the composting process, in which compost is stabilized before being screened and shipped to end markets.

“After just one month into the program, participation rates are already at 50 per cent,” says Pollock. “These are encouraging numbers and we’re looking forward to increased participation as the program continues.”

For more information on the Region of Peel’s compost, visit

Paul van der Werf is president of 2cg Inc. in London, Ontario. Contact Paul at

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