A program that diverts household kitchen scraps, including meat and dairy, from the dump is scheduled to start by the fall of 2009 now that Ottawa city council has approved a site for an organic waste processing plant.
The site at the southeast corner of Rideau and Hawthorne Roads, on the city's rural southeast outskirts, was given the green light by councillors on Wednesday.
'It is not a landfill at all. Everything that goes into the facility goes back out again.' — Dale Harley, Orgaworld
Besides food waste, it will accept soiled cardboard boxes, paper towels, tissues and yard and plant waste, which will be collected by the city from "green bins" left at the curb.
The City of Ottawa estimates that approximately 30 per cent of household waste that is sent to the city's landfill sites could be composted at the new facility.
About 100 trucks a day will carry the waste to the plant to be operated by Orgaworld Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of a Dutch company that also runs a composting plant in London, Ont.
Spokesman Dale Harley said he is sure the new Ottawa plant will easily exceed Canadian environmental regulations because the company's plants already meet more stringent standards in the Netherlands. The planned facility will use sealed tunnels and advanced filters to eliminate unpleasant odours, he added.
"Kitchen waste, yard leaf waste will come into a fully enclosed plant and be processed into high quality compost," Harley said, "which will then be sold back into the community through stores or through agricultural facilities."
Originally, the facility was to be located near the Trail Road Landfill, but the site was eventually rejected due to constraints imposed by the proximity of a nearby flood plain.
A second site at an existing leaf composting facility on Stagecoach Road in the Greely area was also rejected after local residents protested, and Orgaworld feared the opposition could cause delays.
Harley said he believes the opposition was caused by misinformation.
"At the time, residents were under the impression this was going to be a dump," he said. "It is not a landfill at all. Everything that goes into the facility goes back out again."
Residents near the approved site at Rideau and Hawthorne roads have said they are concerned about the increased truck traffic.
Program won't accept pet waste, diapers
Orgaworld said it plans to hold a public meeting for business owners and homeowners in the area during the next two or three weeks to explain in more detail how the plant will operate.
The composting program is expected to start no later than Oct. 1, 2009, and will be available to single-family dwellings but not apartment buildings.
Unlike Toronto's green bin program, it will not accept plastic bags, diapers or pet waste, as that was deemed too expensive.
Eligible households will receive a city issued-green bin and a smaller kitchen bin for food scraps, which must be lined with paper, not plastic bags.
The green bins will be collected once a week from April to November and once every two weeks from December to March.
Six months after the green bin program starts, regular garbage pick-up will drop to once every two weeks instead of once a week.
As part of the contract with Orgaworld, the city will keep some of the compost produced and the company will market the rest.
The city started a pilot test of the green bin program in 2001.