Four Townships and a County: A Waste Management Review

In late 2017, the municipalities of Frontenac County set about with the support of Cambium Inc. to complete a “Made in Frontenac” approach, position and financial plan, to solid waste management. The municipalities comprised the Townships of Central Frontenac, Frontenac Islands, North Frontenac and South Frontenac.

This was an important step for the municipalities in their goal to take control of their destiny by working closely together and being open to new approaches to solid waste management. The thought process was that, given the uncertainty behind solid waste policy in the province, breaking away from the status quo could bode well for the municipalities.

The project sought to explore opportunities of collaboration to:

  • Increase waste diversion;
  • Reduce the net system costs; and/or
  • Reduce the negative environmental impacts attributed to waste management.

In order to complete the waste management review, the project team utilized a four-phase approach:

  • A detailed review of current waste management programs and practices (Phase 1);
  • A detailed review of the performance of the four waste management programs (Phase 2);
  • A financial review of the four waste management programs (Phase 3); and
  • The development, analysis and prioritization of options and opportunities to assist in achieving the goals of the review (Phase 4).

The project resulted in several high-level findings that include:

  • As small-rural waste management programs, the individual municipalities may be at a disadvantage post Ontario waste policy transition;
  • A collaborative, unified approach across the County provides an opportunity to establish efficiencies to reduce system costs and strengthen “bargaining” position for any pending policy change;
  • Having a clear understanding of tonnages and costs for each waste stream would yield significant benefits to the municipalities. However, better and more accurate data tracking is needed;
  • Over the medium to long-term, it will be difficult to increase diversion and at the same time lower waste management costs as they tend to compete with each other. Municipalities may have to prioritize one over the other. Some program options may allow for some movement between the objectives but only in short-term (see Figure 1); and
  • Through enhanced Datacall reporting, the four municipalities may be eligible for greater funding for the Blue Box program.

Figure 1: Summary of Options Analysis

Click image to enlarge

Next steps for the County

Future waste management programs for the County and the townships, will focus on six guiding strategies:

  1. Aim for consistency between the municipalities in the policies, processes and practices;
  2. Establish a harmonized approach, to waste collection, transportation, processing and promotion & education;
  3. Complete joint annual reports for municipal Councils & the public;
  4. Develop a data management reporting approach and improve understanding of performance and costs of waste management programs;
  5. Remain fully engaged with Ontario’s evolving waste management policies and explore opportunities to support the transition to a circular economy; and
  6. Explore opportunities to work with others beyond Frontenac County.

For more information contact CIF staff.