Niagara Region mostly pleased with results of waste collection changes

After changing its garbage collection program last October, Niagara Region staff say progress has been made in achieving some of the goals they set with the changes.

One of the reasons cited for the initial change was replacement of the region’s collection supplier. The region had shifted from Emterra Environmental to Miller Waste Systems and GFL Environmental after the contract with Emterra ended. issues arose during the previous contract.

There were reports of issues under the previous contract, including instances of late pickups.

Catherine Habermebl, director of waste management services for the region, said that the relationship between the region and its new collection suppliers is going quite well. She said the service level change was no different and that the region was “overall pleased.”

However, the diversion rate — the percentage of waste not going to landfill — is stalled at 56 per cent as was reported in October 2020. Habermebl said the region has taken action to get to their target rate of 65 per cent by embarking on a “waste management strategic plan.” The plan included a recommendation of municipal policy changes to council in regards to waste collection.

As for the goal of taking 10,000 tonnes away from local landfills annually, Habermebl said the region appears to be on track to hit that goal. From October 2020 to the end of February 2021, there has been a reduction of almost 4,000 tonnes of garbage, she said. Meanwhile, there has been an increase of green bin material of over 3,000 tonnes and almost 1,800 tonnes of blue and grey box material.

Though the sale of green, blue and grey bins has dropped, Habermebl said it did surge in 2020 once announcements of changes in waste collection were first made, and again in October after the initial implementation of those changes.

She said the two main areas of focus for the region going forward are to tackle illegal dumping and to promote residents to use the green bin. She said overall she is pleased with the change in behaviour and that the Niagara Region is thankful to the residents, businesses and the community for their continued participation in waste diversion programs.