Getting it right with household waste is a hot issue in Peel right now. As construction costs escalated and as Sierra Club Peel Group and various other concerned groups presented multiple environmental, health and sustainability concerns, Regional Council gradually came to the conclusion that their plans to build an EFW (Energy From Waste Facility, the modern version of the incinerator) was not the ideal solution for long term waste management. In a surprise move last October, Council voted out the EFW and voted in an ambitious 75% 3R diversion rate. They instructed their regional staff to develop a plan for success.
A climb from the current 45% diversion rate to 75% by 2034 is a difficult but exciting challenge, and the Waste Management Subcommittee of Sierra Peel wants to do everything it can to support and assist the Region to reach its goal. To date, the early stages of the Region’s planning are focusing heavily on technological and engineering solutions to improving diversion rates. Peel’s newly introduced 3 Cart program is already showing promise of increasing the compostables stream significantly. An AD (Anaerobic Digester) is under investigation.
Sierra Peel’s interest and competence are on the human side of the issue, on strategies for building citizen awareness, education, and motivation to put the right item in the right cart. So far, we have learned and exchanged information in meetings with staff from Waste Planning, Waste Management, Education Programs and Services, and Communications. This group has supplied us with equipment to set up manned waste sorting and citizen education stations at two community events to date, thus helping us to investigate options. We have developed a waste sorting game for use at Sierra’s community display tables, and are investigating the possibility of developing this into an electronic waste sorting game. Our role is still evolving, and this is an exciting venture for Peel group.