| Sep 25, 2008

Sept 25, 2008 - Editorial

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Editorial - September 25, 2008 32 years: Lots of Time to Fix Waste Management ProblemEditorial by Jeff Gree

The issues raised about a draft waste management plan for South Frontenac Township at public meetings over the past month reveal that amlagamating services in the township is never easy.

But developing a comprehensive waste management plan for the entire township within the next year will serve everyone's long term interest, even Portland residents.

The most contentious of the public meetings was held in Verona, where Portland residents rallied under the banner “Save Our Dump”.

The residents were not mollified when they were told that by opening up their dump to garbage from other districts in South Frontenac, it is projected to last only 32 years, instead of 39 years if it continues to be restricted to use by Portland residents only. The discrepancy is actually greater than 7 years, because the 32-year projection is based on a 25% decrease in the amount of garbage each resident sends to the dump because of improved recycling programs, etc. If the 25% decrease is applied, and the Portland dump continues to be used only by Portland residents, it would last about 50 years.

So, apart from some kind of all for one and one for all attitude, why should Portland people want to go to the troble of sorting their garbage and recycling, perhaps even getting into municpal composting, etc., and still end up running out of room in 32 years?

On top of all this, the consultant report behind all the changes does not call for any new dumping sites to be developed in South Frontenac.

Thirty-two years ago it was 1976. At that time there were no recycling porgrams, there was no real sense that garbage was a problem. There were no dump attendants. Every couple of weeks, people filled their trucks with everything they didn't want, drove to the dump and topssed it 'over the hill'. That is, if they didn't dump their garbage in a hidden corner of their own property. Dumps were located on marginal land, often near swamps, and there was no real concern over the impact of leachate from dumps on the watershed.

a lot has changed in the past 32 years. A lot has changed in the past 10 years, and the changes will be wven greater over the next ten years.

For people who do recycle and compost, and that is more and more of us every year, the major source of garbage we produce on a weekly basis is plastic packaging. This will not be the case in ten years. Plastic bags from grocery stores will be gon,and manufacrureres will be forced to take back their packaging or pay for its disposal.

The other major waste stream that we produce is brush and construction garbage. Both of these waste streams can and will be dealt with over the next few years.

Trying to turn around things like carbon emissions are slow, difficutl processes, requiring both a change in bahaviour adn a cahnge in technology.

Garbage is not nearly as complicated. The cahnge in baehaviour iw well underway, nboth on the aprt of producers and consumers. A change in technology is not even required.

The upshot of all this is that within 10-15 years, there is no reason for us to be dumping any more than 25% of the waste we dump now.

Apply this to the South Frontenac dump situation, and it could mena that in 20 years, which is how long this waste management plan is designed to work, there could be at least 25 years of life left in South Frontenac dumps.

There is much to debate about the wate management plan, including whether curbside pickup in Bedford is necessary (or even wanted by Bedford residents) whether dumping all of Storrington`s waste in the townhip instead of shipping it away is a good idea, how the bag tag system will work, how the recycling system will work, etc.

The basic premise that a single system, rationally considered, will lead to rsidents being able to put out their garbage each week for years to come without having to pay exhorbitant tipping fees, is sound.

The details need working out.

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