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Hamilton to build centralized composting facility

Hamilton City Council has announced that it has awarded the design, construction and operation of a centralized com...


Hamilton City Council has announced that it has awarded the design, construction and operation of a centralized composting facility to Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd. According to city officials, this move represents a strong commitment toward developing a waste management system capable of handling residential wastes in an economically, environmentally, and socially-responsible way. The facility is to be located at 1579 Burlington Street East in Hamilton at the same location where blue box materials are currently processed.

The facility will process organic material such as meats/bones, fruit/vegetable peels, and other food wastes collected from households beginning in 2006. The facility will be constructed in 2005 and open for January 1, 2006. The technology being used was developed in the Netherlands and is currently being used in 30 facilities in Europe, South Africa, Australia and Canada for composting of agricultural wastes, sewage sludge municipal organic wastes.

A Public Advisory Committee concluded that a centralized composting facility is a key component to a waste management system needed to reach an aggressive target of 65 per cent waste diversion by 2008.

"It’s very exciting," said Beth Goodger, Director of Waste Management for the city, "and a huge step toward reaching our goal. Residents have spoken and Council has made a very forward thinking decision that will benefit all residents of Hamilton."

Curbside organic collection programs are gaining attention across Ontario, especially given the recent announcement by the minister of environment of a province-wide target of 60 per cent diversion from landfill by 2008. Hamilton has been testing out various methods of collection, different collection containers, and communicating with residents since October 2002 in order to determine a made-in-Hamilton solution for a city-wide program in 2006. Approximately 4300 households are currently receiving weekly green cart collection and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with requests for green carts coming in constantly.

While the facility is being constructed in 2005, staff will also be focusing their attention on rolling the program out across the city starting in early 2006. Residents will receive a "green cart" made of plastic, with handles to push and wheels to roll it out to the curb on a weekly basis. The material will be collected and composted at the central facility.

The city had initially undertaken a Request for Proposal process that sought proposals on both a Central Composting Facility (CRC) and a Material Recycling Facility (MRF). Recognizing the city’s capital financial situation, staff recommended delaying design and construction of the MRF while looking for alternative recycling processing options that allow the program to continually be enhanced as in the past couple of years with the addition of items such as milk cartons and sour cream tubs and lids. Council directed staff to examine using the Hamilton Future Fund as a possible means of funding the MRF. A decision regarding the MRF has been deferred until staff can report back on possible financing or service delivery options.

Contact Beth Goodger, Director of Waste Management, 905-546-2424 ext. 4409 or at bgoodger@hamilton.ca


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