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Warden’s Statement on the 2024 Program to Increase Organics Capture Rates

Midhurst/May 14, 2024 – The County of Simcoe takes great pride in leading solid waste management innovation and sustainability efforts. However, we recognize the need for continuous improvement. This is why we’re hoping to take a major step to enhance our organics capture rates and encourage more participation in our organics program.

Today, our Committee of the Whole meeting recommended that Council consider a new program where garbage carts will only be collected during designated garbage weeks if residents also utilize and place out their organics cart for collection. It’s important to note that this would apply exclusively to garbage collection weeks – recycling would continue to be collected during recycling weeks regardless of the presence of an organics cart or not; although weekly set out of your organics cart is recommended. The proposed start date would be December 1, 2024, to allow for further public education and community engagement and support.

It is important to note that the recommendation will be further reviewed by County Council on Tuesday, May 28 and is not yet approved for implementation. Committee of the Whole also asked staff to report back on guidelines for an exemption program to provide options for residents who do not believe they dispose of any organics in the garbage.

What we heard today is that while three out of four households across Simcoe County already use their organic carts regularly, this program would help increase organics participation and diversion rates with the goal of reducing our environmental impact.

For years, the County has conducted curbside audits to better understand how residents dispose of their garbage. The findings have been eye-opening: households that don’t utilize their organics carts generate over three times more garbage, by weight, than those who do. Additionally, 65% of that garbage is organics. We have room to improve if we all work together.

One of the goals of this program would be to continue educating residents on proper waste disposal. Putting organics in the garbage is detrimental to our environment.

Organic material that is often misplaced in the garbage takes up valuable space in our landfills, all of which are set to be closed in 2027. It produces methane – a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide – and significantly impacts landfill leachate strength.

By using our green carts weekly and actively diverting our garbage, we can create positive change and protect our environment.

Together, we can create a cleaner, more sustainable environment for generations to come.

*This program is not considered approved until County Council further reviews and votes on the recommendation at our meeting on Tuesday May 28, 2024.

~ Warden Basil Clarke