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[greenyes] Information from Wet-Dry in Guelph
In the thread last week about Portola Valley's collection system and
mixed waste composting, there was a side discussion on the wet-dry
system in Guelph, Ontario, and how that system was evolving.  Jennifer
Turnbull from Guelph was kind enough to send some very interesting
information on recent changes to the way Guelph collects and processes
materials, and I thought the whole list would be interested in seeing

Peter Spendelow, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

-----Original Message-----
From: Jennifer Turnbull [mailto:JTurnbul@no.address] 
Subject: Information from Wet-Dry in Guelph

Hello Peter,

Your e-mail containing questions and comments about Guelph's curb side
program and centralized composting reached me. I am the City's Waste
Reduction Co-ordinator, and former Composter Operator. I will do my best
to fill you in on the details.

Our Wet-Dry (2 stream) curb side collection program which was launched
in 1995, changed to a 3 stream Wet-Dry+ program this past March. The
main reasons were long term cost savings and increased diversion and
processing efficiency (which are closely related of course). After 8
years of processing a Dry stream containing both recyclables and "waste"
combined, the wear and tear on the equipment was becoming very costly -
and down-time was increasing and diversion rates were decreasing. There
was no choice but to re-evaluate the system and make improvements. A lot
of consideration went into the option that was ultimately chosen. 

Not only did we modify how we collect waste at the curb so that our Dry
stream contains only "clean" recyclables, but we also modified the
equipment inside of our M.R.F. - a $5 million investment was made to
upgrade the plant making it suitable for the new Dry stream. This work
is still in progress but is expected to be completed in late August.
During the plant shut down, recyclable materials collected at the curb
are being sent to other recycling facilities for processing.

Improvements in our diversion rate are already evident.  There was of
course a major public education component that went along with the
changes. Despite some bumps along the way, the community has adjusted to
the changes well, and many view the changes as positive and necessary.

It is interesting to note that in 1995 we were considered pioneers in
the industry with the 2 stream system and the "new" concept of organics
collection, but our current approach is actually common for many Ontario
and Canadian communities, although not identified by the same name

One aspect of our program that may be considered unique to Guelph is our
attention to curb side quality control. This has been a key factor in
our diversion goals and finished product quality. Even our "Waste"
stream is monitored by the use of clear garbage bags in our program.
Waste bags destined for the landfill containing significant amounts of
recyclables or compostables are not collected. Our residents work very
hard every day to ensure they are sorting each stream well so that they
can continue to have their waste picked up. 

This quality control is directly related to the issue of centralized
composting which you mentioned. We have been able to consistently meet
the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) standards
for unrestricted use compost using household organic waste combined with
other organic feedstock such as livestock bedding, bulk produce, ground
brush and yard waste etc. Our plant uses an in-vessel aerated channel
(agitated bin) system.

If you have any questions about Guelph's waste programs please don't
hesitate to write back. I hope this information is helpful to you.

Best regards, 
Jen Turnbull 
Waste Reduction Co-ordinator
City of Guelph

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