Minden Hills landfill goes to the animals

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Minden Hills landfills collected the weight of nearly 40 elephants, a whale, and a rhino – in electronics, scrap metal, and household batteries – manager of waste facilities, Chelsea Cosh, told council at its March 14 meeting.

In 2023, people dropped off just over 21 tonnes of electronics materials. It was the equivalent of the average mass of a Sei whale, according to Cosh.

She added an African bush elephant has an average mass of six tonnes, and last year, more than 231 tonnes of scrap metal was collected – equivalent to nearly 39 of the pachyderms.

Another fun fact was the collection of 1.4 tonnes of household batteries – almost the weight of a Javan rhinoceros.

“Many changes in the latter part of 2023 took place, including enhancing the department’s promotion and education efforts, additional waste diversion programs, improved signage at the waste disposal sites, and a revised cottage kit,” Cosh said. “Staff have seen valued efforts by residents to abide to the regulations of the sites, as well as proper sorting and recycling.”

She noted there were three household hazardous waste (HHW) events, with more than 600 people coming and dropping off more than 25 tonnes.

The township held its first confidential paper shredding event in December. In exchange, they accepted donations to the Minden Community Food Centre. Twelve people got rid of 902 pounds of paper. “Staff filled a large tote and another large cardboard box with food and toiletry donations,” Cosh said.

She further noted there are 244 FoodCycler units in the town, with people diverting their organic waste from the landfills.

When it comes to diversion programs, the township collected fewer vehicle batteries, 59 compared to 124 in 2022; more from blue box containers (361 tonnes, up from 332); less corrugated (22 tonnes down from 71); more fibres (335 in 2023, compared to 305 in 2022); less construction and bulky waste (1,442 tonnes, down from 1,813); fewer electronics (21 tonnes versus 31); more empty auto containers (2.28 tonnes from 1.307); more household batteries (1.4 tonnes, compared to just over one); less HHW (25 tonnes last year, 37 the year before); fewer propane tanks, and more scrap metal (231 tonnes versus 212).

As for vehicle counts, Cosh said Scotch Line was down to 79,713 in 2023, compared to 87,089 in 2022. Ingoldsby was down as well, to 15,889 vehicles, from 17,252. The trend continued for Little Gull (7,709 in 2023, from 7,463 in 2022); but Iron Mine saw more traffic, up to 4,205 vehicles from 3,572.

In addition, more cottage kits were sold last year, 1,167, up from 1,083 in 2022.

Cosh said, “staff continue to look for innovative and cost-effective ways to offer existing recycling programs to residents as well as opportunities for new programs. These efforts, along with positive recycling habits from residents, help reduce the amount of waste that is going into the landfill. This, in turn, extends the life of the landfill and reduces the township’s carbon footprint.”

Coun. Bob Carter quipped, “since African elephants and Javanese rhinos are thin on the ground here in Minden Hills, I just wanted to know if you had an equivalent of moose, or white-tailed deer that you could give us.”

Cosh joked back “duly noted, that will be taken into consideration for next year.”