Do your part to reduce waste

Last week was Waste Reduction Week (Oct 19-25). The purpose of the week was to raise awareness about the need for all of us to think about and manage our waste responsibly, and the importance of practicing the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle.

At Halton Region, we are a leader in sustainable practices, both in the workplace and in the community through our waste reduction programs and services, and education efforts with residents. In our Strategic Action Plan 2015-2018, ‘Protecting the Natural Environment’ has been identified as one of our key priorities. Our goal is divert 62 per cent of our waste from the landfill, and we are already well on our way.

Thanks to the participation of Halton residents in our waste management programs, we have already achieved a waste diversion rate of 60 per cent, and these efforts have already extended the lifespan of our landfill from 2012 to 2044. This means that we offset the one billion dollar cost of a new landfill, which is great news!

I encourage all residents to continue to work together and look for way to reduce your waste. Here are some tips under each of the 3Rs:

Reduce

  • Buy only what you need.
    • Reduce waste by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Rent or borrow items that rarely get used.
  • Buy all-purpose household cleaner or make your own.
    • Don’t buy different cleaning solutions for each role.
    • Remember that in most cases, vinegar and water cleans just the same.
  • Make enough food to have leftovers, or just enough that you don’t have to throw any away.
    • Use leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.
  • Choose products with little packaging.
    • This way, less packaging ends up in the Blue Box or garbage. This can include buying in bulk. This will save you money as well as reduce waste.

Reuse

  • Pack a waste-free lunch.
    • Use reusable containers for lunches and snacks, a thermos for water and juice, reusable cutlery and a cloth napkin so nothing gets thrown out!
  • Choose products that can be reused.
    • For example, rechargeable batteries, cloth napkins and reusable drink bottles.
  • Bring your own bags when shopping.
  • Lug a mug.
    • Bring a reusable travel mug to the coffee shop. Many offer small discounts for using a reusable mug too.
  • Donate or buy from or have a yard sale
    • Support local charities by donating reusable clothing and other household items that are in good condition. Visit halton.ca/reuse for a list. Yard sales are also great ways to reuse items. Have one yourself, or check out classified ads for yard sales in your neighbourhood.

Recycle

  • Recycle or have a bin in every room.
    • Look at putting a bin in different rooms in your house for collecting recyclables or organic items. For example, in the bathroom, collect plastic shampoo and soap bottles for your Blue Box, and collect used facial tissues for the GreenCart.
  • Clear out the basement and garage.
  • Think about recycling when shopping.
    • Single serve yogurt cups go in the Blue Box, while yogurt tubes go in the garbage.
    • Paper egg cartons go in the GreenCart and clear plastic egg cartons go in the Blue Box, while Styrofoam egg cartons go in the garbage.

Practicing the 3Rs helps preserve our natural environment for future generations, so Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter,”The Carr Report.”

Farewell to Mitch Zamojc, Commissioner of Public Works

Halton Region’s Commissioner of Public Works, Mitch Zamojc, is retiring after nearly six years of service to Halton residents.

Commissioner Zamojc joined Halton Region as the Commissioner of Public Works in 2008 after serving the public for more than 28 years including 12 years as Commissioner at the Region of Peel.

Under his leadership, numerous infrastructure plans and strategies for the future have been completed, as well as a number of big projects—everything from bridges, large diameter water mains and water storage tanks to wastewater plant upgrades—and the largest investment in roads Halton Region has ever made.

During Commissioner Zamojc’s tenure:

  • Master Plans for waste, transportation, water and wastewater have been updated to ensure requirements are clearly identified to meet Halton’s needs in the future.
  • Several major capital works projects have also been completed including the Sixteen Mile Creek Bridge on Dundas Street in Oakville, a second water feed to Milton, a new elevated water storage tank in Halton Hills, as well as upgrades to the Oakville Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • A number of innovative initiatives were implemented including the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) for water and wastewater services and a customer service initiative through social media for Waste Management.  Commissioner Zamojc also led staff in achieving Halton’s solid waste diversion target of 60 per cent.

Commissioner Zamojc has been a valued member of the Region’s Management Committee and a real champion for both innovation and exemplary customer service. On behalf of Regional Council, staff and Halton residents, I would like to thank Commissioner Zamojc for his commitment to Halton Region.

The recruitment process to replace Commissioner Zamojc is underway. His last day at Halton Region will be April 11, 2014.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

 

Holiday Closure – 311 services available

On behalf of Regional Council and staff, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and aholiday closure safe, happy and healthy holiday season.

Halton Region’s administrative offices are closed for the holidays as of December 23 at 4:30 p.m. and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

All essential services will remain available during this time. Essential services include:

If you need help with a Regional service during the holidays, please dial 311. Dialing 311 also gives you access to other Halton Government Services including Local Municipal Services, Halton School Boards, and non-emergency Police services in more than 170 languages. Did you know that 311 services are also available online at 311halton.ca. Through 311 online you can pay a parking ticket, find a Regional or municipal service, sign up for cold alerts, apply for a job, report a collision or missed waste collection and more. 

From my family to yours, I would like to wish you a wonderful Christmas and holiday. All the best for a healthy New Year.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Halton Region Spring Compost Give Away starts May 6

Halton Region’s popular Spring Compost Give Away is back. Starting Monday, May 6 to Saturday, May 11, residents are invited to pick up compost free of charge as a thank you for helping to divert yard waste away from Halton’s landfill.

When it comes to diverting residential waste, Halton residents are the best in the Province.Compost Through participation in waste diversion programs like recycling, composting and yard waste collection, Halton households continue to divert 60% of waste away from the landfill, up from 40% in 2007. These efforts are important because they help conserve the life of Halton’s landfill, one of the Region’s most valuable physical assets, a savings of $15 million for taxpayers.

Each year, the yard waste (e.g. leaves, garden trimmings and brush) set out for collection by residents is turned into high-quality compost at our Waste Management Site. In 2012, approximately 31,000 tonnes of yard waste was collected in Halton and the resulting compost is now ready for residents to use in their own gardens and landscaping projects.

The event takes place at the Halton Waste Management Site, 5400 Regional Road 25 in Milton between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., from Monday, May 6 to Saturday, May 1.1 Residents are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item or cash donation, to be distributed to Halton-area food banks.

Residents must also bring their own bags or containers (maximum seven per household) and a shovel in order to bag their own compost.

For more information about the Spring Compost Give Away, access Halton by dialing 311 or visit www.halton.ca/waste. You can also follow Halton Waste Management on Twitter @HaltonRecycles #HaltonCompost and visit the blog at www.haltonrecycles.ca.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

First of seven Special Waste Drop-off Days begins April 20

Spring cleaning? If so, you might want to mark April 20 on your calendar. On Saturday, April 20, Halton Region will hold the first of seven Special Waste Drop-off Days throughout the community.

In 2012, 128 tonnes of electronic waste and 108 tonnes of household hazardous waste were dropped off at Halton’s Special Waste Drop-off Days.

In 2012, 128 tonnes of electronic waste and 108 tonnes of household hazardous waste were dropped off at Halton’s Special Waste Drop-off Days.

Special Waste Drop-off Days help make the recycling of electronic waste and recycling and safe disposal of household hazardous waste more convenient. The first event will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Halton Regional Centre located at 1151 Bronte Road in Oakville.

Halton already has one of the highest residential diversion rates in the Province.

Single-family households continue to divert 60% of waste away from the landfill through curbside and special waste drop-off programs, up from 40% in 2007.

Household hazardous waste items, dropped off at Special Waste Drop-off Days, are processed and diverted from the landfill, helping to conserve one of Halton’s most valuable physical assets. By dropping off household hazardous waste and electronic items, we can help extend the life of Halton’s landfill, saving taxpayers $15 million.

To learn more about Halton’s efforts to extend the life of the landfill and why it’s so important, visit the Halton Recycles blog.

For more information about dates and times regarding upcoming Special Waste Drop-off Days and details about which items are acceptable for drop off, dial 311 or visit www.halton.ca/dropoff.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Waste Management Program Changes (video)

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

Preserving Halton’s Landfill – Changes to Halton Region’s Waste Collection Program Start April 1

Halton residents have always been enthusiastic about practicing the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle. Single-family households continue to divert 60% of waste away from the landfill through curbside programs, up from 40%—this is one of the highest diversion rates in the Province.

Since starting the GreenCart program in 2008, Halton residents have diverted 122,315,000 kg (or 269,658,095 lbs) of organics away from landfill.  This is equivalent to approximately 12,000 garbage truck loads.waste

This waste diversion rate is important because, by reducing the amount of material that is put in the garbage, Halton can extend the lifespan of its landfill.

Our landfill is one of the Region’s most valuable physical assets. Opened in 1992, the Halton Waste Management Site was originally expected to last only 20 years until 2012. Through the waste diversion efforts of Halton’s residents, the landfill is forecasted to remain operating until 2040.

While going from 40-60% diversion rate of residential waste is a tremendous achievement, there is still more we can do to conserve the landfill.

In October 2012, Regional Council unanimously approved Halton’s 2012-2016 Solid Waste Management Strategy that outlines a goal to reach a waste diversion rate of 65% by 2016 and increase the lifespan of its landfill an additional four years. It is estimated this extension will provide a savings of $15 million to Halton taxpayers. It will also benefit the environment.

To help achieve the goals laid out in Halton’s 2012-2016 Solid Waste Management Strategy, Halton Region will introduce changes to its waste collection program starting April 1. These changes include:

1.     An Expanded Blue Box Programblue  box

Effective Monday, April 1, Halton residents can add more items to their Blue Box, including clear plastic clamshells (e.g. berry and lettuce containers), single-serve yogurt cups, plastic plant pots and trays, empty metal paint cans (lids removed), and cardboard cans (e.g. frozen juice cans/chip cans).

Information about all the new materials now accepted in Blue Boxes as well as details about where residents can pick up a new larger Blue Box are available at www.halton.ca/NewInBlue.

2.     New Garbage Limit

Also starting on April 1, Halton will decrease the garbage limit and introduce “garbage tags” for garbage above the new limit. Starting April 1, residents may place three garbage bags/cans or less at the curb every other week. More than three garbage bags/cans will require a garbage tag.

Complete details about the new garbage limit, including information about where you can pick up or order complimentary garbage tags are available at  www.halton.ca/GarbageTags.

Currently, 85% of residents place three garbage bags or less at the curbside every other week.  That means, the vast majority of Halton residents won’t need to participate in the garbage bag tag program. By recycling and composting more, residents will have even less waste going to the landfill, which means the landfill will last longer.

Together we can continue to make a difference.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at  gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, ”The Carr Report.”

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Did You Know?

Currently, 95% of single-family homes place a Blue Box curbside for collection every week.

Did You Know?

The average garbage bag in Halton contains 23% GreenCart materials, 13% Blue Box materials, and 16% other plastics. Think about how much garbage will be reduced if all these items are composted and recycled.