The City of Guelph is a small city in southern Ontario that’s sometimes studied by marketing professionals and used as a test jurisdiction for new products and services. The reasons are numerous, and include the fact that the city is an almost equal mix of conservative people with rural roots, and progressive types whose social democrat leanings are invigorated by an influx of students each year at the city’s well-known university. Simply put, anything that works in Guelph can be scaled down for smaller towns or scaled up for larger cities.
For that reason, it’s interesting to follow Guelph’s approach to waste diversion, which has been through several zigs and zags over the past ten years. The city was the first in Canada to try a two-stream bag-based wet/dry system about a decade ago. Problems with contamination on the dry side led the city to refurbish its recycling plant and shift to a three-stream system a few years ago. Recently, the city decided to shutter its organics processing plant because the corroded roof needed replacement and the cost of other capital improvements loomed. (The site had also triggered many odor complaints from neighbors and became unpopular.)
Waste management professionals would be well served to read an interesting seven-part series on waste management in Guelph that was prepared by the staff at the Guelph Mercury newspaper and that was published last week. Some of the research and reporting goes well beyond what normally appears in newspapers on waste, recycling and composting themes. You can access the article series at the following website URL: