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Conversations with the Mayor: Solid Waste Services Update

Dennis Lever, Mayor of Puslinch
Dennis Lever, Mayor of Puslinch

Daina Makinson and I sat down with Mayor and County Councillor Dennis Lever to discuss what’s happening with Solid Waste Services (“SWS”) in Wellington County. We hope this will be one of many in a series of conversations to keep you in the know about what matters most to residents of Puslinch. We had originally requested input from our County Councillor and Solid Waste Services Chair but were simply referred to the county website instead.

In January this year the County SWS Committee decided to start the review of rural waste pick up. Along with other initiatives, including large item pick up, it was originally slated to coincide with the SWS Master Plan which is on the docket near the end of the current term.

On the June 9, 2015 Committee Agenda the following items were identified as items of interest to some of the SWS Committee members:

  • overall waste management system review
  • possible expansion of rural collection (frequency and locations)
  • urban pick up of bulky items
  • cart collection
  • personal water bottle refill stations
  • recycling – rate of diversion – not separating material at the curb
  • potential for incineration
  • tours of electronic recycling and blue box recycling facilities
  • tours of County Waste Facilities
  • single stream collection
  • possible additional rural pickup from Erin and Guelph/Eramosa

With the Mayor we discussed issues such as rural vs urban garbage pickup (who should get pickup), large item pickup (should it be provided), bags vs containers (how do we put our garbage to the curb) and capital projects (what needs work) among many other topics.

We asked Mayor Lever what were some main points about SWS that he felt residents should know, and here is what we’d like to report:

  • The County is running our Solid Waste Services efficiently. This is due in big part to the fact that the capture ratio for recycling is very good. In 2013 alone 5,569 tonnes of blue box materials were collected and 2,905 tonnes of materials were diverted from landfills through other programs.
  • SWS seems to be spending our tax money wisely. This is very good to know due to the fact that nine cents of every tax dollar goes to Solid Waste Services. You can find out more about how your tax dollars are spent by checking out the insert with your current tax bill.
  • The projected lifespan of the Riverstown Waste Facility in Wellington North has actually increased due to the improved recycle recapture statistics. This is very good news.
  • The process has started to review new SWS initiatives including broadening rural pickup.

Daina and I were certainly impressed with the actions the SWS Committee has taken so far. They certainly have taken into consideration the needs of the residents and we appreciate them moving up important items to be initiated sooner rather than later. What we have to remember is there is always a cost associated with any action to be taken. Many people may want curbside pickup tomorrow, but we need to find out how that would affect our tax bills first.

We are very grateful to Mayor Lever for taking the time to sit down with us and discuss this important issue. We look forward to our next conversation with him and reporting back to Puslinch.

Anyone who knows me know that I am adamant about recycling and composting. It takes such little time and effort for such a great reward. I applaud the efforts undertaken by all the residents of our community to divert waste from our landfills and hope we continue to do better and better as time goes on.

Wellington County SWS Links:

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