Solid Waste Management Master Plan

Guelph’s 2014 SWMMP provides strategic direction for the next 20 years, including recommendations that build on Guelph’s leadership in waste minimization and diversion for a sustainable, service-focused and economically viable future. The revised plan focuses on developing and enhancing waste minimization and diversion initiatives that will help the City meet the plan’s reaffirmed waste diversion target of 70 per cent by 2021.The revised plan is the result of the SWMMP Review process that began in the spring of 2013 and included gathering feedback and ideas from the community, evaluating the current waste system and programs, assessing Guelph’s future needs, identifying new waste management trends and the costs and effectiveness of new approaches, and exploring options and opportunities to increase diversion.

Managing our waste

The City has made significant progress with the recommendations of the 2008 SWMMP and findings from the review indicate that Guelph is doing well with respect to existing waste diversion and reduction programs and targets when compared with communities across Ontario, the United States and Europe.

In 2012, the City of Guelph achieved a 68 per cent waste diversion rate, the highest in the province and well above the provincial average of 47 per cent. The City also diverted the highest percentage of residential organic waste at 32 per cent and had the lowest residential waste generation rate and residential disposal rate within its municipal comparator group (Waste Diversion Ontario Municipal Datacall).

Since implementing the SWMMP in 2008, the City’s residential diversion rate has increased 30 per cent and exceeded the first two diversion targets set in the 2008 SWMMP. The increased diversion rate is largely attributed to the strength of resident’s commitment to three stream sorting and a result of a number of City initiatives including the opening of the Organic Waste Processing Facility, reuse and recycling of construction and demolition materials, new sorting equipment for glass and polycoat containers, and electronic waste recycling.

Recommendations

The 2014 SWMMP includes 29 recommendations that fall into the following categories: municipal; residential; multi-residential; industrial, commercial and institutional; and construction and demolition. The plan’s recommendations reflect the current and future needs of our growing community, waste management and diversion trends, and potential economic, environmental and social factors, ensuring the City’s ability to deliver effective waste management programs and services for Guelph. Below is a list of some of the recommendations from the 2014 SWMMP.

Municipal

  • Explore alternative methods for recovery of designated materials
  • Promote “waste less” principles and policies, share and reuse initiatives
  • Explore alternatives to landfill

Residential

  • Establish a food waste reduction campaign
  • Implement a grasscycling program
  • Outreach for residential waste minimization and diversion programs

Multi-residential

  • Outreach for multi-residential waste minimization and diversion programs
  • Expand the development approval process to promote waste diversion in multi-residential properties
  • Explore expanding the type of collection services provided to multi-residential properties

Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional

  • Provide assistance to industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) establishments

Construction and Demolition

  • Develop a construction and demolition (C&D) waste diversion strategy

Implementation

Implementation of the plan’s recommendations takes place over a five year period. The proposed implementation schedule outlines the start and end dates for the various activities between 2014 and 2019.

The estimated impact on the City’s operating budget over the five year implementation period is $426,300 with an additional one-time capital cost of $595,000.

Thanks for your feedback

Community and stakeholder consultation was an important part of the review process, ensuring that the recommendations reflect the current and future needs of our growing community.

Thank you to everyone who provided their feedback, guidance and opinions–this information was critical in identifying what works well, what needs improvement, and ultimately guiding the direction of the 2014 SWMMP.

2 MB2014 Solid Waste Management Master Plan 726 kBAppendix A: Technical Memorandum – Current State Report 1 MBAppendix B: Technical Memorandum – Future State Report 494 kBAppendix C: Options and Opportunities Report 381 kBSWMMP Survey Results 1 MBOpen House #1 Summary Report 2 MBOpen House #2 Summary Report 242 kBAppendix G: Summary of Focus Group Workshops 155 kBAppendix H: Summary of Second Multi-residential Workshop 508 kBSWMMP Appendix I – Detailed Project Outline 80 kBAppendix J: Table Outlining Status of 2008 Recommendations 7 kBSWMMP Appendix K – Abbreviations and Acronyms

Solid Waste Management Master Plan Review

In 2013, the City of Guelph began a review of its 2008 Solid Waste Management Master Plan (SWMMP) The review assessed the progress made during the last five years and enabled Guelph to identify new opportunities for success, improvement and growth.

The SWMMP Review was conducted by City staff with the assistance of GENIVAR (now WSP Canada Inc.) and a Public Steering Committee made up of Guelph residents and representatives from the University of Guelph, the business community and the City’s Environmental Advisory Committee.

The review included gathering feedback and ideas from the community, evaluating the current waste system and programs, assessing Guelph’s future needs, identifying new waste management trends and the costs and effectiveness of new approaches, and exploring options and opportunities to increase diversion.

The plan was developed through extensive research, analysis, and community and stakeholder engagement. Feedback from over 680 residents and stakeholders was obtained through various engagement opportunities, including open houses, focus groups and surveys.

The final report – the 2014 SWMMP – summarizes the process, findings, community input, and provides formal recommendations to help Guelph achieve its waste diversion target.

The review timeline – Key milestones in the review process

December 2012

Council approved the formation of the 2013 SWMMP Public Steering Committee to guide the review of the 2008 Master Plan.

March 2013

Council appointed members of the Public Steering Committee.

Summer/Fall 2013

400 randomly selected Guelph households participated in a telephone survey; 209 people completed the same survey online.

Fall 2013

The first open house took place, giving residents a chance to provide insight on Guelph’s current waste programs and share their ideas for the new strategy.

Focus groups were held with key stakeholders in the community to explore waste management practices, programs and initiatives geared to multi-residential properties, commercial and institutional buildings, and single-family residences.

A Current State Report was completed to highlight the current status of City waste operations and outline the service baseline prior to moving ahead with the study, review the status of the 2008 SWMMP recommendations, and look at some comparator communities for the purpose of gauging Guelph’s progress with respect to waste diversion.

A Future State Report was completed to examine projected community growth rates, waste management and diversion trends and other influences that may impact the City’s future waste disposal and waste diversion infrastructure, policy and program needs and opportunities.

Winter 2014

The second open house took place, presenting waste reduction and diversion options and giving residents a chance to provide input on these options.

Spring 2014

The 2014 SWMMP report went to Council; the 29 recommendations of the revised Master Plan were endorsed.

The community’s role in the review process

Public and stakeholder consultation was an important and integral part of the review process and there were several opportunities for the community to participate in the development of the new SWMMP. A multi-faceted approach, including a telephone and online survey, workshops and focus group sessions, and public open houses were used to gather input to understand the perspectives, concerns and values of the Guelph community in relation to waste management.

Community feedback from over 680 residents and stakeholders was collected throughout the review process used to inform the Citys new SWMMP – the guiding strategy for Guelph’s waste management over the next 20 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Solid Waste Management Master Plan?

The Solid Waste Management Master Plan (SWMMP) is a guiding document that provides strategic direction for Guelph’s waste management by exploring a wide range of waste minimization, diversion and disposal options.

One of the key policies driving the City of Guelph’s waste diversion programs and policies is its adoption of a zero waste philosophy in 2008 and ambitious waste diversion targets in three phases:

  • 55% waste diversion by 2011,
  • 65% waste diversion by 2016,
  • 70% waste diversion by 2021.

How is Guelph doing?

Findings from the review indicate that Guelph is doing well with respect to existing waste diversion and reduction programs and targets, when compared with communities across Ontario, the United States and Europe.

The 2008 SWMMP identified 41 recommended actions for the City to implement to help it move towards its ultimate goal of 70 per cent diversion of waste from landfill by 2021. To date, the City has implemented 24 (60%) of the recommendations with another 14 in progress and three at the initial stage.

In 2012, the City of Guelph achieved a 68% waste diversion rate, the highest in the province and well above the provincial average of 47 per cent. The City also diverted the highest percentage of residential organic waste at 32 per cent and had the lowest residential waste generation rate and residential disposal rate within its municipal comparator group.*

Since implementing the SWMMP in 2008, the City’s residential diversion rate has increased 30 per cent and exceeded the first two diversion targets set in the 2008 SWMMP. The increased diversion rate is largely attributed to the strength of resident’s commitment to three stream sorting and a result of a number of City initiatives including the opening of the Organic Waste Processing Facility, reuse and recycling of construction and demolition materials, new sorting equipment for glass and polycoat containers, and electronic waste recycling.

Why was the SWMMP reviewed?

The 2008 SWMMP called for a review of program implementation and target achievement in 2013. The review was to assess the progress made during the last five years and enable Guelph to identify new opportunities for success, improvement and growth.

Program implementation and target achievement will be reviewed again in 2018 and 2023.

What did the review include?

Components of the SWMMP Review include:

  • Gathering feedback and ideas from the community
  • Review and evaluation of the current waste system and programs
  • Assessing Guelph’s future waste management needs
  • Identifying new waste management trends
  • Exploring options and opportunities to increase diversion 
  • High-level costing and effectiveness of new approaches

Who was involved in the review?

The SWMMP Review was conducted by City staff with the assistance of GENIVAR (now WSP Canada Inc.) and a Public Steering Committee made up of Guelph residents and representatives from the University of Guelph, the business community and the City’s Environmental Advisory Committee.

The Review process included extensive public consultation opportunities, including open houses, surveys, and focus groups. The feedback, guidance, and opinions of residents and community stakeholders was critical in identifying what was works well, what needs improvement, and ultimately guiding the new direction of the SWMMP.

What’s new about the 2014 Master Plan?

The revised plan includes 29 recommendations that fall into the following categories: municipal; residential; multi-residential; industrial, commercial and institutional; and construction and demolition.

These recommendations reflect the current and future needs of our growing community, waste management and diversion trends, and potential economic, environmental and social factors, ensuring the City’s ability to deliver effective waste management programs and services for Guelph.

What was the cost of the Master Plan review?

The cost to conduct the review of the 2008 Solid Waste Management Master Plan was $115,000 (excluding taxes). This includes consulting services, committee meetings and project management, research and writing, and public consultation (a survey, workshops and focus groups sessions, and public open house events). The review was funded through the Council-approved Solid Waste Resources budget.

What is Guelph’s current waste diversion rate?

In 2012, the City of Guelph achieved a 68 per cent waste diversion rate, the highest in the province and well above the provincial average of 47 per cent. The City also diverted the highest percentage of residential organic waste at 32 per cent and had the lowest residential waste generation rate and residential disposal rate within its municipal comparator group (Waste Diversion Ontario Municipal Data Call).*

Since implementing the SWMMP in 2008, the City’s residential diversion rate has increased 30 per cent. The increased diversion rate is largely attributed to the strength of resident’s commitment to three stream sorting and a result of a number of City initiatives including the opening of the Organic Waste Processing Facility, reuse and recycling of construction and demolition materials, new sorting equipment for glass and polycoat containers, and electronic waste recycling.

Guelph has surpassed the first two diversion targets ahead of schedule, why didn’t the waste diversion target for 2021 change after the review?

The SWMMP Steering Committee reaffirmed the previously established waste diversion target of 70 per cent by 2021.

Overall, there was strong public interest in either increasing the target and/or moving the 70 per cent target ahead. However, the combined impact of the strategies recommended as part of this review were only projected to bring the City up to the 70 per cent target based on the performance information available to the project team. In addition, considerations were also given to the uncertainty of projected future waste management trends, including the impact of lighter packaging materials, the collection and control of materials handled under changes to Extended Producer Responsibility, and the amount of diverted material realized from multi-residential properties.

What’s the timeline to implement the recommendations outlined in the 2014 plan?

A schedule for the recommendations was developed as part of the process, outlining proposed start and end dates for a variety of the activities between 2014 and 2019.

What’s the cost to implement the recommendations outlined in the 2014 plan?

The estimated impact on the City’s operating budget over the five year implementation period is $426,300 with an additional one-time capital cost of $595,000.