The first of a four-part waste composition study in Dysart et al found that each municipal household averages 641 kilograms of garbage and recycling per year, and that 29.16 per cent of all waste is successfully diverted from landfills and recycled.
Environmental manager John Watson provided his report to council Feb. 8. The municipality contracted AET Group to carry out the study, with the first stage taking place at the Haliburton landfill Jan. 12 to 14. There, staff collected garbage and recycling from 65 residences, representing 609 waste generation days.
Looking at the data, Watson said 69.36 per cent of all plastic recycling collected was considered acceptable, with 25.98 per cent classified as garbage, 9.75 per cent being non-acceptable plastics such as film and large pails, and 5.16 per cent deemed to be “other waste,” namely clothes hangers, wood and meat pads.
More encouraging, 85.42 per cent of all paper recycling collected was deemed acceptable. “Most people are recycling their papers correctly,” Watson noted. Around 9.35 per cent of items placed in paper recycling was classed as garbage and 5.22 per cent as recycling that should have been placed in with plastics.
Watson said that 90 per cent of all garbage collected ended up in the right place, with 5.85 per cent of items belonging in plastic recycling and 4.13 per cent in paper recycling.
Misplaced garbage and recycling costs Dysart thousands of dollars annually, Watson said. While he was encouraged by the numbers reported through this first event, he told council it was important the township continues to promote proper recycling and sorting habits.
“When you look at this report, I think we’re doing a heck of a good job,” said deputy mayor Pat Kennedy.
Jeff Iles, Dysart’s director of planning and land information, said several provincial and federal ministries are actively investigating wetlands along Gelert Road after a local property owner’s desire to develop the land caused uproar in the community last month.
Several environmental activists sounded the alarm, as reported in the Jan. 27 edition of The Highlander, after a piece of the wetland was filled early in the new year. The issue came to council Jan. 25, with officials directing staff to get further information on what was going on at the site.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada reported they intend to assess the site in the spring, when water levels are high, to determine if there has been any evidence of loss of fish habitat due to the filling. Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks say they have consulted with the landowner, who has voluntarily agreed to stop filling at the site until a habitat assessment is completed and reviewed.
While the township does not currently have any bylaws in place preventing this kind of thing from happening again in the future, Iles said it’s always a good idea to first reach out to municipal officials to receive a second opinion before proceeding with any significant project on your property.
“We are a good starting point and can provide direction to the appropriate approval authority,” Iles said.