Ontario needs an overall organics residuals and composting plan to ensure that the existing and future collection and management programs are not at risk, according to The Composting Council of Canada (CCC).
While organic residuals represent well over one-third of Ontarios waste stream and offer a wide-range of environmental and economic benefits, Ontario has not been allocating sufficient effort to turn this waste into its true potential, says Susan Antler, executive director of the CCC.
Right now, because of the lack of a focused vision, old operating guidelines as well as an absence of coordinated communication and compost market development support, composting is suffering in Ontario, Antler says. “Add to this the fact that the province is considering allowing a wide range of organic residuals to go to agricultural operations without the same regulatory requirements demanded for municipalities and private sector operations, and the existing infrastructure is in serious jeopardy.
To make meaningful change happen, the CCC is advocating that Ontario move forward with the following initiatives:
— full adoption of the nationally approved Guidelines for Compost Quality, as released by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment in 2005;
— ensuring the alignment of policy, approvals and enforcement across the province;
— supporting the financing and ongoing sustainability of the organics processing infrastructure through clearly defined goals and mandates as well as ensuring a level-playing-field consistency in regulations and the approvals process for all sectors involved in organics recovery;
— increasing overall education support of composting and compost usage; and
— advancing the development of compost markets through mandatory inclusion in provincial and municipal tendering/public works projects as well as supporting the certification of end products to ensure quality and assisting in the coordination of marketing programs within provincial ministries and municipalities.
Organics represent approximately 40 per cent and 32 per cent of the residential and industrial waste streams respectively. According to a 2004 StatsCan study, 12.9 million tonnes of solid waste were generated in Ontario with about 9.4 million tonnes of waste being landfilled. The most recent CCC study indicated that while almost four million tonnes of organics were being composted, Ontario was only composting 17 per cent or 681,000 tonnes of the national total.
The CCC has requested that Ontario hold off on the proposed off-farm initiative until a full economic and environmental review is done in the context of an overall organics residuals management strategy.
About The Composting Council of Canada
The Composting Council of Canada is a national non-profit, member-driven organization with a charter to advocate and advance composting and compost usage. It serves as the central resource and network for the composting industry in Canada and, through its members, contributes to the environmental sustainability of the communities in which they operate.
For more information, please contact:
The Composting Council of Canada