A curbside food and organic waste program for single-family dwellings is proposed for Thunder Bay in 2025.

What is Food & Organic Waste?

Food waste means the edible parts of plants and animals that are produced or harvested but are not ultimately consumed (kitchen scraps and discarded food). Organic waste means inedible parts of plants and animals, as well as other organic material that may be processed along with food waste. Examples of organic waste can include, but are not limited to, leaf and yard waste, compostable products and packaging, soiled paper, diapers and pet waste.

In April of 2018, the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks introduced its Food and Organic Waste Framework, including a Food and Organic Waste Action Plan and Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement. Of particular relevance to the City of Thunder Bay, the Policy Statement requires municipalities in Northern Ontario with populations greater than 50,000 and densities greater than or equal to 300 persons per square kilometre to provide curbside collection of food and organic waste to single-family dwellings in the urban settlement area by 2025. Moreover, the program must achieve a 50% waste reduction and resource recovery of food and organic waste by that date.

Green BinThe document Development of an Organics Diversion Program Implementation Plan includes recommendations for the development and implementation of a food and organic waste diversion (Green Bin) program to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Province’s Policy Statement. The proposed program would service the City’s single-family and multi-family dwellings as well as qualifying businesses, taking a phased-in approach to the program’s implementation.

The report also recommends the optimization of the City’s collection services and policies to minimize the cost of implementing the new program and ensure effective participation. The following recommendations are also proposed:

  1. Expand current leaf and yard waste services in 2023.
  2. Implement a curbside food and organic waste program for single-family dwellings in 2025.
  3. Phase in Green Bin collection services for multi-family and local businesses over time.
  4. Optimize garbage collection service to achieve diversion targets and reduce costs.
  5. Hire necessary staff to support roll out of Green Bin services.
  6. Implement automated cart-based collection of garbage and Green Bin materials.
  7. Finalize program costs and design parameters as a next step.

The report also examines options for processing the collected organic waste while taking into consideration the implications of this new program on the City’s landfill operations and renewable energy partnership with Synergy North Inc. To ensure the City is consistent with the Policy Statement, future amendments to the City’s official plan, waste collection and zoning by-laws may also be necessary. These recommendations are intended to support the City’s climate change goals, reduce operational costs, and ensure the province’s food waste and organics diversion target will be met. The proposed changes are expected to increase the City’s residential waste diversion level from 25% to 42% and reduce the City’s climate change footprint by an estimated 5,380 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

Food and Organic Waste Diversion (Green Bin) Program – First Corporate Report

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