Ambitious Waste Diversion Plans proposed in Ontario’s Oxford County

As reported by the Woodstock Sentinel Review, the southwest Ontario municipality of Oxford County has ambitious plans to build a “waste-diversion facility” that could divert as much as 90 per cent of waste from landfill.

Oxford County is a regional municipality in the Canadian province of Ontario, located in the Southwestern portion of the province.

Oxford County Council were scheduled to review a report in April that outlines the options for location and funding for a Waste Recovery and Reduction Technology (WRRT) facility, which will reduce the amount of material entering landfills.

The goal of the facility is to divert as much as 90 per cent of material and extend the lifespan of the Oxford County landfill by more than 30 years – from 2063 to 2100, in keeping with expected population growth and the resulting increase in waste heading to the dump.

According to a report included in the council agenda, three potential locations have been identified for the facility: the Oxford County Waste Management Facility, the Ingersoll Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Woodstock Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Those sites were evaluated based on their size, the surrounding land use and the transportation capacity.

The goal of a waste recovery and reduction plant is to use more of what would traditionally end up in a landfill. Recoverable recyclables – the usual blue-bin materials – are included but so are items like food wrappers, large articles like sofas, and plastic toys, all of which would normally end up in a landfill. These products would be turned into biofuel at an out-of-county facility. Recyclables and organics would be treated much as they currently are and turned into reusable material.

The report on the Council meetings’ agenda also outlines options for funding and building the facility, which is expected to be designed to handle as much at 50,000 tonnes of waste per year.

Costing for the project depends on council’s directive regarding the capabilities of the facility, but ranges anywhere from $16 to $42 million. Staff presented eight different scenarios for the facility’s location and capabilities, each with different cost implications. The county is examining options for public-private partnerships for the building of the facility.

Council originally gave the directive to go forward with a waste recovery and reduction plan last summer. The facility is part of the county’s Zero Waste Plan, through diverting more material from landfills.

Council is expected to make a decision on the preferred plan at the May 8 meeting before deciding on a procurement option at the June 12 meeting.

Oxford County is known for its out-of-the box thinking when it comes to waste management. The new Oxford County Waste Management & Education Centre is a net-zero energy facility that uses an energy efficient building envelope and solar photovoltaic panels to completely offset the energy use of both the building and the rest of the landfill site. A real-world example of how buildings can be sustainably constructed and operated, the Education Centre includes demonstrations, resources and information to educate and inspire further sustainability initiatives.

The new Oxford County Waste Management & Education Centre is a cutting edge facility generating its own energy
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