City wastes time instead of improving Hamilton's waste diversion rate

Opinion Apr 09, 2015 Dundas Star News

A decade ago, Hamilton was on the fast track to improve its deplorable environmental past.

While other communities — some of them much smaller — had introduced and built upon their innovative waste collection programs, Hamilton was stumbling along with a pitiable 17 per cent waste diversion rate.

With the implementation of the Solid Waste Master Plan, oversight by the Waste Reduction Task Force, and an invigorated city staff, Hamilton made rapid and welcome progress. By the end of the decade the results were striking: an overall diversion rate of about 49 per cent, investments in the waste collection facilities, the introduction of a green-bin pickup and a new culture that trumpeted environmentalism.

The city’s efforts extended the life of Hamilton’s only landfill site in Glanbrook from 2020 to about 2030. If the diversion rate can be raised to even 55 per cent, the landfill site’s lifespan could be extended to 2040, an important factor considering the province isn’t granting approvals to municipalities to start digging holes in the ground to bury their garbage.

However, over the last five years that excitement has waned considerably.

Except for the long overdue switch to a one-container limit a few years ago, there has been little appetite from politicians, and even waste staff, to push more diversion projects onto what they consider an overburdened community.

Waste officials lament that Hamilton’s diversion rate remains stuck just below 50 per cent, far below its once lofty goal of a 65 per cent diversion rate by 2008, then extended to 2011.

To be sure, Hamilton’s homeowners have embraced any city program that reduces their waste. The residential diversion rate has been a robust 55 per cent, according to a review in 2012. The problem has been introducing and enforcing programs against other waste culprits such as the industrial commercial and industrial sectors (ICI), which has a lowly 20 per cent diversion rate, and the multi-residential sector with a paltry 21 per cent diversion rate.

There are other measures that should be introduced that would get Hamilton to 65 per cent. They include improving education, targeting ICI sectors, introducing robust regulations for multi-residential properties, adding additional materials to be recycled and introducing biweekly garbage collection.

Residents’ and politicians’ current fight to prevent a gasification plant on Hamilton Port Authority lands is only the beginning of what could be a continuous battle about the future of waste collection. In 2017 the Solid Waste Management Master Plan will be reviewed, and in 2020 the city’s waste collection contracts, which were settled in 2013, will be up for renewal, opening the door for the community to decide how low can it go when it comes to limiting its waste.

City wastes time instead of improving Hamilton's waste diversion rate

Opinion Apr 09, 2015 Dundas Star News

A decade ago, Hamilton was on the fast track to improve its deplorable environmental past.

While other communities — some of them much smaller — had introduced and built upon their innovative waste collection programs, Hamilton was stumbling along with a pitiable 17 per cent waste diversion rate.

With the implementation of the Solid Waste Master Plan, oversight by the Waste Reduction Task Force, and an invigorated city staff, Hamilton made rapid and welcome progress. By the end of the decade the results were striking: an overall diversion rate of about 49 per cent, investments in the waste collection facilities, the introduction of a green-bin pickup and a new culture that trumpeted environmentalism.

The city’s efforts extended the life of Hamilton’s only landfill site in Glanbrook from 2020 to about 2030. If the diversion rate can be raised to even 55 per cent, the landfill site’s lifespan could be extended to 2040, an important factor considering the province isn’t granting approvals to municipalities to start digging holes in the ground to bury their garbage.

However, over the last five years that excitement has waned considerably.

Except for the long overdue switch to a one-container limit a few years ago, there has been little appetite from politicians, and even waste staff, to push more diversion projects onto what they consider an overburdened community.

Waste officials lament that Hamilton’s diversion rate remains stuck just below 50 per cent, far below its once lofty goal of a 65 per cent diversion rate by 2008, then extended to 2011.

To be sure, Hamilton’s homeowners have embraced any city program that reduces their waste. The residential diversion rate has been a robust 55 per cent, according to a review in 2012. The problem has been introducing and enforcing programs against other waste culprits such as the industrial commercial and industrial sectors (ICI), which has a lowly 20 per cent diversion rate, and the multi-residential sector with a paltry 21 per cent diversion rate.

There are other measures that should be introduced that would get Hamilton to 65 per cent. They include improving education, targeting ICI sectors, introducing robust regulations for multi-residential properties, adding additional materials to be recycled and introducing biweekly garbage collection.

Residents’ and politicians’ current fight to prevent a gasification plant on Hamilton Port Authority lands is only the beginning of what could be a continuous battle about the future of waste collection. In 2017 the Solid Waste Management Master Plan will be reviewed, and in 2020 the city’s waste collection contracts, which were settled in 2013, will be up for renewal, opening the door for the community to decide how low can it go when it comes to limiting its waste.

City wastes time instead of improving Hamilton's waste diversion rate

Opinion Apr 09, 2015 Dundas Star News

A decade ago, Hamilton was on the fast track to improve its deplorable environmental past.

While other communities — some of them much smaller — had introduced and built upon their innovative waste collection programs, Hamilton was stumbling along with a pitiable 17 per cent waste diversion rate.

With the implementation of the Solid Waste Master Plan, oversight by the Waste Reduction Task Force, and an invigorated city staff, Hamilton made rapid and welcome progress. By the end of the decade the results were striking: an overall diversion rate of about 49 per cent, investments in the waste collection facilities, the introduction of a green-bin pickup and a new culture that trumpeted environmentalism.

The city’s efforts extended the life of Hamilton’s only landfill site in Glanbrook from 2020 to about 2030. If the diversion rate can be raised to even 55 per cent, the landfill site’s lifespan could be extended to 2040, an important factor considering the province isn’t granting approvals to municipalities to start digging holes in the ground to bury their garbage.

However, over the last five years that excitement has waned considerably.

Except for the long overdue switch to a one-container limit a few years ago, there has been little appetite from politicians, and even waste staff, to push more diversion projects onto what they consider an overburdened community.

Waste officials lament that Hamilton’s diversion rate remains stuck just below 50 per cent, far below its once lofty goal of a 65 per cent diversion rate by 2008, then extended to 2011.

To be sure, Hamilton’s homeowners have embraced any city program that reduces their waste. The residential diversion rate has been a robust 55 per cent, according to a review in 2012. The problem has been introducing and enforcing programs against other waste culprits such as the industrial commercial and industrial sectors (ICI), which has a lowly 20 per cent diversion rate, and the multi-residential sector with a paltry 21 per cent diversion rate.

There are other measures that should be introduced that would get Hamilton to 65 per cent. They include improving education, targeting ICI sectors, introducing robust regulations for multi-residential properties, adding additional materials to be recycled and introducing biweekly garbage collection.

Residents’ and politicians’ current fight to prevent a gasification plant on Hamilton Port Authority lands is only the beginning of what could be a continuous battle about the future of waste collection. In 2017 the Solid Waste Management Master Plan will be reviewed, and in 2020 the city’s waste collection contracts, which were settled in 2013, will be up for renewal, opening the door for the community to decide how low can it go when it comes to limiting its waste.