Waste Watch

2019/2020 Waste WatchWaste Watch logo

Northumberland County has seen big changes in its waste programs over the last couple of years. All of these changes were put in place in an effort to keep as much material out of landfill as possible in order to reach our long-term goal of 75% waste diversion from landfill.

What is Waste Diversion?

Waste diversion simply means keeping material out of landfill by recycling, reusing or composting. Ontario municipalities, including Northumberland County work hard to keep as much material out of landfill as possible by operating waste diversion programs such as recycling, composting, household hazardous waste, leaf and yard waste, green bin and more.

  • 2019 Northumberland County Waste Diversion Rate: 42%
  • 2020 Northumberland County Waste Diversion Rate: 47%

In one year, Northumberland County was able to keep 47% of residential waste out of landfill. That is 5% more than 2019.

Click the table below to see where we have improved, and what still needs to be done.

Garbage

Garbage destined for landfill dropped by 5% in 2020. This reduction is in direct relation to the County’s new Green Bin program but is not as large of a drop as expected. What we saw during the early days of COVID-19 was a large amount of garbage not only being set out at curbside but being dropped off at Community Recycling Centres. People were home cleaning out their homes and the bag tag was waived for the first bag of garbage during the early days of the pandemic. We believe we will see a drop once the pandemic is over, and we return to more normal routines.

Residential Garbage2019 Tonnes2020 TonnesDifference in Tonnes 

Curbside

          8,344

          7,857

(487)

Drop-off

          8,498

          8,518

20

MRF residual from recyclables processing

          2,249

          1,716

(533)

Total Garbage

        19,091 

        18,091 

(1,000)

 Recycling
The new blue and grey box recycling program is proving to be a success story. We saw a 4% drop in recyclables processed, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Prior to the new box system, many residents were putting items in the recycling, that were not recyclable. With a new focus on what is actually recyclable, residents are now putting garbage in the garbage, which is also reflected in the Garbage table.

The material residents put in the recycling is sold, or marketed, to remanufacturers who recycle this material into new products. We were able to market 4% more material in 2020, compared to 2019.

We also saw the residual rate, which is garbage, and material that we could not capture off of sorting lines at our Material Recovery Facility decrease drastically by 24%!

With enforcement of curbside recycling only beginning in January of 2021, we expect these numbers to be even more impressive when we compare 2021 to 2020.

Residential Recyclables2019 Tonnes2020 TonnesDifference in Tonnes

Recyclables processed

7,768

7,467

(301)

Recyclables marketed

5,519

5,751

232

Residual from MRF

2,249

1,716

(533)

Green Bin

The use of Green Bins since they were delivered continued to grow. In 2020, residents composted 2,363 tonnes or 5,209,523 pounds of food waste! This material prior to the rollout of Green Bin program would have gone to the County’s last remaining landfill in Brighton. 

Residential Green Bin2019 Tonnes2020 TonnesDifference in Tonnes

Green Bin

107

2,363

2,256

Community Recycling Centres

We saw less divertable material enter our landfill and transfer stations in 2020 vs 2019. Again, we expect that COVID-19 had a role in this, notably with household hazardous waste. As two of our seasonal depots were cancelled in 2020, residents more than likely opted to store this material rather then taking them to Bewdley or Brighton. We also saw an increase in clothing diversion, most likely because many thrift stores were closed, and residents were clearing out closets. Styrofoam packaging also increased significantly, most likely due to the increase in on-line shopping throughout the pandemic.

Divertables2019 Tonnes2020 TonnesDifference in Tonnes

L&Y Waste

4,477

4,500

23

Tires (from RPRA Datacall)

642

647

5

Scrap Metal

334

274

(60)

Drywall

287

263

(24)

Household Hazardous Waste

385

252

(133)

Electronic Waste

208

233

25

Bulky Plastics

43

34

(9)

Clothing

2

13

11

Styrofoam

4

6

2

Total Divertables

6,382

6,222

(160)

Overall

Overall, things are looking good. We decreased our garbage by 9% and increased our divertables by 12%!

 Overview20192020Difference
Total divertables 13,665 15,997 2,332
Total waste 32,756 34,088 1,332
% Garbage 58% 53% N/A
% Divertables 42% 47% N/A