The facility will still be necessary under the new regulatory structure as garbage and organics will remain the responsibility of the County. In regard to organics, the Province has been quite clear that the Waste-Free Ontario Act will focus on diversion of more waste from disposal and this will be accomplished, in part, by developing a Food and Organic Waste Framework to reduce the volume of organic material going to landfill. As a result, it is anticipated that this will increase demand for organics processing capacity. Development of our OPF project secures capacity for the County’s organic material and allows space for neighbouring municipalities as customers in the interim while we grow to design capacity. The MOECC has a definitive mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a local processing facility would reduce the need for trucking of this material outside the County.
The MMF will provide a location for the long-term transfer of garbage with the closure of County landfills (anticipated to occur between 2023 and 2028). It is anticipated, however, that the blue box recycling program will no longer be the County’s responsibility as it transitions under the Waste-Free Ontario Act by the end of 2022. Design of the MMF will consider this timing and the potential for short-term capacity for recycling. There is also the potential in the long-term that the MMF could act as a regional transfer centre for recycling on a cost recovery basis. It is expected that greater clarity on the Waste-Free Ontario Act and associated policies and initiatives will continue to roll out over the next few years.