One of the recurring themes in South Dundas recently has been the issue of what to do with our trash. Both municipal landfills are in need of replacement/expansion. Council and staff are in the process of examining three viable options to determine our path for trash for the next 25 years.
Consistently heard around the council table was that South Dundas is not as bad as some of our neighbours: we can always improve on how much waste we throw out or recycle. Another common theme heard was that no matter which of the three solutions council decides, increasing diversion away from landfills has to be a priority. Without forcibly legislating some form of citizen-based program, South Dundas is in a unique position right now not only to make a change, but to lead the way, in rural landfill diversion.
According to municipal staff, our landfill diversion rate is about 21 per cent presently. In 2017, the provincial diversion rate was 49.7 per cent. Increasing South Dundas’ diversion rate will do two things: save money in the long run by extending landfill life spans; create better stewards for the environment. How can this be done?
One idea would be to establish a proper municipal composting program, and offer incentives to people such as free seminars and kits for creating backyard composting. These ideas are already being taught in elementary schools, so partner with the schools to make composting a community project.
Another idea would be to increase the number of recycling canisters on municipal property including parks, community buildings and both village plazas.
The Morrisburg Waterfront Implementation Committee is already going the next step – with much thanks to the financial support of 100 Women of South Dundas – by installing a water bottle refilling station. These devices have been shown to considerably lower the number of water bottles filling trash cans. These should be installed in other parks and municipal facilities. As one group has already fundraised for theirs, and South Dundas is a generous community, fundraising for water stations should not be much of a challenge. Besides, which is better, a small bit of fundraising, or a large tax increase for a landfill project?
Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot. We have a chance to be a change for good. Or to just keep blindly throwing things out.