I was recently reading an article in Solid Waste & Recycling Magazine http://www.solidwastemag.com/news/guelph-tops-res-waste-diversion-ranking-wdo/1002873471/w82vy4Wps10w8xu02qM2vx/?ref=enews_SW&utm_source=SW&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=SW-EN01282014 and was very pleased to see that several cities in Ontario are achieving excellent diversion results! Guelph topped the list for 2012. Guelph has a population of approximately 120,000 residents – a good sized city with typical communication and public engagement challenges around residential waste diversion. Guelph utilizes a source-separation based system where residents are required to separate their recycling in a blue bin cart, their organics in a green one and their garbage in a grey one – as in the photo featured above (credit to the City of Guelph website). Guelph’s success in the ranking is largely attributed to their recently re-activated organics program, which is a provincial leader.
There is so much discussion about how our cities, and by extension our country, can make significant improvements in waste diversion. This is a complicated question, that requires a lengthy answer with thoughts and remarks that focus on:
- Education and public outreach programs
- Recycling collection methodologies and systems
- Local processing infrastructure
The next two cities that had excellent diversion results were Owen Sound (pop 22,000) and Mono (pop 8,000), two much smaller communities. That fact that Guelph managed to top the list in spite of the challenges posed by a much larger population, is very impressive. Great progress and congratulations to Guelph – you should be proud of your accomplishments!