Windsor joins regional organic waste management project to meet 2025 diversion goal

Curbside food and organic waste collection is one step closer to reality in Windsor following a decision by City Council on Monday.

Councilors have unanimously agreed to join a regional food and organic waste management project, led by the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA). The program is offered to comply with provincial legislation that requires regions to divert organic waste from landfills by 2025.

The City of Windsor is required to provide curbside collection of food and organic waste and must divert 70% of its organic waste. Meanwhile, smaller communities – Leamington, Amherstburg, LaSalle and Tecumseh – only have to divert 50%.

These regions also do not need to provide curbside collection, but may instead create a public drop-off depot or create a community composting area.

Kingsville, Essex and Lakeshore are currently exempt due to their population size.

Michelle Bishop, chief executive of EWSWA, said in a presentation to councilors on Monday that a regional approach would include several benefits, such as consistent service across the region and reduced collection costs.

But in general, she said it would help the environment.

“From an environmental perspective, I think it goes without saying that any opportunity we have to divert organics and waste from landfill should definitely be explored,” she said.

In 2020, the city hired a company, GHD, to create a waste management plan. Last year, the board approved another firm to carry out a third-party review of the plan submitted by GHD.

The review recommended that all local municipalities join together in a regional plan.

This regional plan would see municipalities sign a short-term contract with a service provider.

Municipalities have until March 31 to sign off on the regional plan, at which time Bishop said EWSWA would seek to sign a short-term contract with a waste treatment provider.

So far, Bishop said Leamington and Amherstburg are “committed” to a regional approach, Lakeshore has agreed “in principle” and LaSalle has expressed interest in Essex County.

After March, the EWSWA Food and Organic Waste Management Oversight Committee will continue to work on a permanent, long-term food and organic waste management solution.

During the presentation, Bishop said a “tremendous amount of effort” needs to be put into establishing a long-term program.

According to Bishop, he must seek permanent solutions, as the Department of Environment, Conservation and Parks told EWSWA that the province is considering implementing a ban on organic disposals in landfills and tentatively expects this to begin in 2030.

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