County approves review of new technologies as it works to eliminate waste

By Bruce Chessell, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

A man dumps some of his trash at the Salford landfill in Oxford County. (Sentinel-Review file photo)

A man dumps some of his trash at the Salford landfill in Oxford County. (Sentinel-Review file photo)

Oxford is taking more steps to meet its zero waste target.

As the county moves forward with its goal of creating zero waste by 2025, county council recently approved issuing a request for information (RFI) to research and review new waste recovery and reduction technologies.

This comes after a waste audit of what is coming into the landfill site, what is in garbage bags on the street, what garbage is being generated in the industrial and commercial sectors and what is leaving and staying in the county.

Chief administrator Peter Crockett said that the county wants to take responsibility for waste generated in Oxford.

"We now have a much more crystallized picture of our waste issue," Crockett said. "What council has said is that we want to be responsible for our own waste and we want to keep it and manage it internally to our community... Part of that responsibility is how do we reduce the waste that we create."

Right now, the county is looking into mechanical sorting of waste coming to the site, removing organics and plastics, for reuse, repurposing or recycling, and gasification technologies to create energy from waste.

Warden David Mayberry said research into these technologies should begin in the next couple of months, and he hopes council will see a full report in the fall.

"We'll be able to bring a report to county council to say that these are the technologies and methodologies to resolve a significant portion of our waste right now," Mayberry said. "I'm hoping by late fall that we'll be able to bring something forward with a recommendation."

Last year, the province passed the Waste Free Ontario Act, aiming to reduce the 11.5 million tonnes of waste sent to Ontario landfills each year. The province is asking for an 80 per cent improvement in diversion rates by 2050.