Organic Waste

Background:

Organic waste is a specific type of waste derived from living organisms that can be degraded by other living organisms.

  • Examples of household organic waste: food waste, yard/garden waste and sewage biosolids
  • Examples of industrial organic waste: sawdust, food processing waste, and paper biosolids

It is estimated that Ontarians generate about 4.2 million tonnes of organic waste annually, making up about one-third of Ontario waste stream. As a result, organic waste management is an essential component for meeting waste diversion goals, and the diversion of organic waste gradually continues to increase in Ontario.

To date, organic waste diversion in Ontario is mainly focused in the residential sector but there are opportunities for the Industrial Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) sector.

The Issues:

Disposal / Diversion Gap
Although waste diversion generates substantial economic benefits, disposal (particularly in Michigan) predominantly remains the least cost option for managing waste. Recycling activities are hindered in many cases as a result of a wide differential between the costs of disposal and recycling.

Odour
For the waste management sector, controlling odour is a critical issue given the nature of the materials managed. Generally, the higher organic content the greater the potential for odour. Finding solutions is vital because waste management is an essential service for residents, businesses and the environment. Through proper management and the use of best practices, odours can be prevented, minimized and managed. It is however important to stress that there is no one solution for any given challenge; no foolproof system; and no waste facility that has zero odour. The OWMA continues to work proactively within the sector to provide resources and outreach to raise the professional standards.

Capacity
The province continues to have processing capacity issues in the province and so some organic waste is still processed outside Ontario.

OWMA Recommendations:
  1. The government should examine mechanisms to increase organic waste diverted from disposal.
  2. Government should work with the OWMA to deal with barriers to investment in new processing capacity and dealing with issues like odour management.

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Ontario Waste Management Association
2005 Clark Blvd., Unit 3
Brampton, Ontario
L6T 5P8

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