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Essex County to go ahead with organic waste collection

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In an attempt to get more life out of its regional landfill, Essex County is moving ahead with a separated organics collection program.


At last Wednesday night’s council meeting, it was decided to go ahead with the program, which, according to Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) general manager Michelle Bishop, has the potential of diverting up to 45 percent of the current waste that goes into the landfill.


While council opted to go with the program that will collect food and organic waste, there was a lot of debate on whether or not both rural and urban households should be included.


Bishop said that the company that will be doing the collection, Miller Waste Systems has provided the urban cost for the approximately 57,000 rural households to be $5.98 million and for the 11,700 rural, $2.007 million per year.


One of the arguments on the night was if the county puts the cost on the general tax levy and just go with urban collection, those living in rural areas would be paying for a service they would not receive.


Amherstburg Mayor Michael Prue said that just because he does not use the Libro Centre, he still pays for it because it is a betterment for the entire community.


“I pay because it’s for the benefit of everyone. Picking up garbage is for the benefit of everyone,” said Prue.


After much debate, council opted for all approximately 69,000 households in the county to be included in the new program.


“Do you want to save the planet or are you worried someone might have to pay a little more tax?” questioned Prue.


The contract to pick up the food and organic waste has been awarded to Miller Waste Systems which, according to Bishop has 30 contracts in the province including Ottawa. She said that the contract with them is for seven years with an option of a two-year extension.


“Considering this is a new program, we are pleased with the pricing provided,” said Bishop.


She added that purchasing of new trucks, route design and hiring and training will be of a significant cost for Miller System.


“We’re not trend setters,” noted Bishop of collecting organic waste. “We are one of the last large regions to implement this program.”


A few months ago, Essex County council rejected having one regular household waste collector contract for the entire region and individual municipalities went ahead in renewing their own contracts.


“Each individual has a responsibility to do something about the environment and this is a start,” said Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara about the organic waste collection program.

Essex County to go ahead with organic waste collection

By Fred Groves

 

 

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