City of Windsor Councillors recently voted to join a regional food and organics waste management project, run by the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA). The program is being offered to abide by provincial legislation that requires regions to divert organic waste away from landfills by 2025.

The City of Windsor is required, under Ontario law, to provide curbside collection of food and organic waste and must divert 70 per cent of its organic waste. Meanwhile, smaller communities — Leamington, Amherstburg, LaSalle and Tecumseh — only have to divert 50 per cent.

The combined population of the City of Windsor and Essex County is approximately 400,000 people.

These Essex-Windsor regions also don’t need to provide curbside collection, but instead can do a public, drop-off depot or create a community composting area.  Essex County is a mainly rural county in Southwestern Ontario, comprising seven municipalities.  Three of the seven municipalities that make up Essex County (Kingsville, Essex and Lakeshore) are currently exempt due to their population size.

Michelle Bishop, general manager of EWSWA, said in a presentation to councillors Monday that a regional approach would include several benefits, such as consistent service across the region and lower collection costs.

This regional plan would see the municipalities sign on to a short term contract with a service provider.   EWSWA’s Food and Organic Waste Management Oversight Committee will continue to work on a permanent, long-term food and organic waste processing solution.