Curbside Organic Waste Collection and the 60 percent Waste Diversion Goal: A Case Study of Select Municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe
Stauch, Aaron Matthew
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Ontario has provided an interesting canvas for waste management planning. As the home of the world’s first blue box program, a successful deposit return system, an extended producer responsibility initiative, and recently the Green Energy Act: Ontario presents many opportunities and challenges for a waste management planner. In addition to the above, Ontario is expected to grow significantly (through immigration) over the next 25 years. In order to manage this, the government of Ontario has created a significant urban planning hierarchy and has focused efforts to accommodate this growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. To address the management of waste in the province, the government, in 2004, established a 60% waste diversion goal by 2008. When evaluated in 2009 the province had yet to make significant progress toward the target. This thesis seeks to examine how municipalities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe have developed and implemented their organic waste diversion program in response this target, and examine the issues that arose in reaching it. This thesis attempted to interview waste management planners at eight municipalities, with five agreeing to participate. Based on the interviews it was determined that each of the municipalities had used several different approaches to organic waste diversion, with most having recently implemented (pilot or full scale) curbside organic waste collection programs (green bin). It was also determined that many of the municipalities replicated the same steps as neighbouring municipalities and did not always factor in other’s learning. Most importantly, while the government set the waste diversion goal, they did not take responsibility for ensuring that outcomes were achieved.