Emo landfill receives hope of extended life

Dave Ogilvie

Since they first received news their landfill site was nearing the end of its life, Emo council and concerned community members have been encouraging residents to embrace the concept of recycling.
The 2003 report, from the engineering firm S. Burnett and Associates, gave the local landfill only 16 years before it would need to be closed.
Without some kind of intervention by council, this would mean that the landfill site would need to be closed by 2019, which presently is only seven years away.
On top of that news came word the community would need at least $200,000 in order to close the site according to governmental standards.
Attempts to recycle, in recent years, have helped extend the life of the landfill site to some extent. But it has become increasingly clear that the amount of recycling being done by residents is just not enough.
Thanks to the leadership of Coun. Vern Thompson, the new council has made a concerted effort to reduce the amount of garbage entering the local landfill.
“I decided to take the project on in order to increase the capacity by reducing the amount of garbage by recycling,” he explained.
Council was able to apply for—and receive—funding assistance from the Waste Diversion Ontario Continuous Improvement Fund in order to hire S. Burnett and Associates, who helped council develop a recycling plan for the Township of Emo, including a Class ‘B’ Environmental Assessment.
As a result, Coun. Thompson said they have started investigating possible markets for cardboard, plastics #1-7, and scrap metal, which dramatically will decrease the amount of garbage placed in the Emo landfill.
Staff have spent hours sorting and cleaning the landfill site while council has purchased a second hand baler in order to compact the paper, cardboard, etc.
Several bales of cardboard are ready to be sent to a recycling company—and several more will be ready soon.
“In addition, we have signed up with Stewardship Ontario for tire and electronics collection,” enthused Coun. Thompson.
Since starting the program at the landfill site, the municipality already has sent one load of electronics for recycling.
“It no longer costs residents money to deposit their used tires in the landfill because we have a recycling firm from Thunder Bay which is interested in receiving our tires,” Coun. Thompson said.
Meanwhile, council also is working with the Ministry of the Environment and Stewardship Ontario to set up a Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste Program (MHSW) at the landfill site.
“We’re not in this to make money but simply to keep as much garbage out of the dump as possible,” Coun. Thompson stressed.
Any revenue raised from the sale of recyclables will be used to further enhance the Township of Emo’s recycling program, which, in turn, will further save local taxpayers from financially contributing to the program.
Emo council also would like to encourage neighbouring communities to bring their electronics, tires, and scrap metal to the Emo landfill site.
The municipal office is in the process of implementing a coloured card system for recyclers to use.
Local residents would continue to use their red landfill site cards to bring their household garbage and recycling to the landfill while non-residents who wish to deposit their recycling at the landfill site would be issued green cards.
These cards can be picked up at the Emo municipal office during regular office hours.
“Our goal is to increase the life of our landfill site,” said Coun. Thompson.
“In order to accomplish this, we are asking everyone in the Township of Emo to assist us in our mission by recycling and composting,” he urged.
If the life of the landfill site is not extended and it ultimately is forced to close, the Ontario government may not allow the township to open a new one and may force it to truck the garbage to a site in Thunder Bay.
Either way, the cost to the township may be more than the small town can handle.
The best scenario, and most efficient and effective, is for township residents to sort their garbage before it enters the landfill and for everyone to embrace the concept of recycling on a daily basis.