Smelling change in the air

New Garbage and Recycling Master Plan to be drafted

The City of Winnipeg wrapped up its public consultations on the future waste management, and is about to draft its Garbage and Recycling Master Plan. The new master plan will determine the future of garbage and recycling services in Winnipeg.

The process the city used to gather information on what Winnipeggers wanted in terms of waste and recycling services was designed in three phases. The first phase, which ran last November and December, was designed to illicit Winnipeggers thoughts on the future of garbage and recycling services through telephone surveys among other methods.

The second phase, which began in February and ends in April, involved roundtable discussions, open houses, and public meetings to get more feedback on options. Following the second phase, city officials will draft and develop the master plan that will eventually be presented to Winnipeg City Hall in the fall.

Trevor Sims, environmental engineer for the City of Winnipeg, says the public consultation process is very important because “it’s very valuable is helping (officials) to form the future waste handling service system in Winnipeg based on residents’ input.”

Among some of the recommendations city officials are considering are the creation of community drop-off depots that would accept material from residents that could be reused or recycled, a curbside organics program, and phasing out AutoBin collection service and moving towards automated cart collection.

Over 750,000 tonnes of garbage is generated each year in Winnipeg, according to city estimates. According to Sims, the current waste management system is in need of a drastic overhaul. “We want to do better on diversion rates. Right now, Winnipeg has a 17 per cent diversion rate. It’s one of the lowest in the country. We want it to be 50 per cent.”

Another major problem the city faces in the Brady Landfill is leachate. Leachate is a harmful liquid that is generated when water passes through garbage, and must be removed and treated at wastewater treatment plants. According to city statistics, 55 million litres of leachate is treated every year. Sims stated that the city is “eager to get household hazardous waste, and electronic waste out of the landfills. It’s a long-term liability because of the toxins, and leakage that occurs.”

Winnipeg homeowner Michel Fourneaux believes that the city’s goal to divert more waste is a good cause. “I think it’s a good idea to divert more waste away from landfills. It just makes more sense, otherwise people are just sticking electronics and other hazardous things in the garbage. That’s not right.” Fourneaux added, “We should be keeping that things like that out of our landfills.”

“We’re trying to think forward, and be progressive. If we can reduce the amount of waste in our landfills we should. We have a social responsibility to be environmentally prudent.”

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