Sunday, October 15, 2023

What is Waste Diversion Rate? Explained for Clear Garbage Bags

A diversion term is a simply an activity where something is redirected from its main course. A waste diversion rate is a percentage of how much of that ‘something’ was redirected or deflected from its main course.

In the waste management, waste diversion is how much recyclable/re-usable material is diverted away from the main waste stream. Waste diversion rate is simply this formula (total non-waste material / total waste) x 100%. This formula, in theory, on the municipal level is only applicable for curbside total household waste.

Non-waste material is everything that is not supposed to be in the landfill or in the incinerator. Non-waste falls under compost, yard waste, recyclable, hazardous, some bulk materials. What’s left is the real garbage.

Again, anything that cannot be reused or recycled is considered as garbage. And where does the garbage goes? Well, let’s narrow down to our municipality, Town of Aurora Ontario. Some of our garbage goes to landfill. Landfill is a pit where the garbage is dumped. It is just an underground storage facility for our garbage with some degradation, a very slow degradation in fact. Some things degrade over time in the landfill and some things never will in our lifetime. Some landfills over time release methane fumes. Since it is a matter of land space and volume of garbage, regions are running out of places to fill. This is why we now have new technologies like the Energy-From-Waste facilities EFW, as the name speaks for itself, converting waste to usable energy. Not some but all incinerators release fumes that supposedly are contained and monitored on the regular bases.

The clear garbage bag program was initially focused on to increase our diversion rates. During the General Committee meeting on March 03, 2015 the message from the town was loud and clear. The clear garbage bags program to create waste diversion awareness was not as effective as it seems to be. Why? Perhaps, because we don’t know how to monitor success of this program.

It is very easy to calculate your own waste diversion rate of your own garbage on the curbside. However, it isn’t that easy to do the same on the municipal level. Waste diversion rates formula is little different and not a true value. This was pointed out during last General Committee Meeting on March 03, 2015. The numbers to support the clear garbage bag program are not that clearafter all and this is why I have doubts in this program success.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON

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