Monday, Nov. 7 will be the first day of the District of Muskoka’s new curbside waste program.
James Steele, Commissioner of Engineering and Public Works, says curbside garbage bag limits will be reduced to one bag per home per week for those where green bins are collected. For those in non-green bin areas, the limit will be two bags per household. The number is doubled if collection is done bi-weekly.
When putting out recycling, Steele says recyclable containers and paper products can be mixed together. He explains the materials are kept separate from garbage and sent to a processing facility in the Greater Toronto Area to be sorted.
The work will be done by the new contractor Green for Life Environmental (GFL). Steele says residents may have already seen the hard-to-miss light green trucks roaming through Muskoka. Steele says it will take the company, whose headquarters is in Vaughn, time to familiarize itself with Muskoka’s roads. “They will adjust their routes and the equipment they’re using,” he says.
The contract with GFL was approved in Oct. 2021 and will run until 2029. It was estimated at the time by district staff that the contract will cost just over $5,500,000 for 2022.
The previous curbside collection contract was with Waste Connections of Canada. It was announced in Aug. 2021 that it would not be renewed when it expires on Nov. 5.
As well, additional households in Huntsville will receive green bins and curbside organics collections. Steele says the bins should have already been delivered. He adds he hopes to expand the program to more households in Muskoka in the coming years.
“We’re trying to keep our landfill alive as long as possible”
Steele says Muskoka’s diversion rate is about 35 percent. He explains the rate is determined by how much material is kept out of the district’s landfills and is recycled or put into green bins. He says the district’s target diversion rate is 60 percent. “We’re pretty low when compared to the rest of the province,” he adds.
“Responsibly managing waste is part of our commitment to protect Muskoka’s environment,” said the soon-to-be-retired District of Muskoka Chair John Klinck. “Our current diversion performance is poor and these changes are critical to reduce garbage and encourage all residents to think about waste when they buy products and use all options to reuse, recycle and compost before putting things in the garbage.”
In June 2021, a report sent to district council indicated that the Rosewarne Landfill will reach capacity by 2036. Steele says an engineering study is being worked on to find out what effect these changes will have on the life expectancy of the district’s landfills.
“We’ll continue on our plan to roll out new programs, education, and keep people aware of what they have available,” Steele says. One of those tools is the Muskoka Recycles app. Steele points out that it will be kept up-to-date with collection information.