July 4, 2007 The Howe Island Waste Management Committee has been discussing ways to improve the island’s waste management practices. We understand the following to be true;
- That waste reduction is the single most effective way to deal with the problem of waste.
- That reuse of materials is the second most desirable approach followed by diversion of created waste as a third priority.
The following outlines some perceived shortcomings of the current waste management system and potential solutions. These comprise the committee’s short-term goals.
- There is still a great deal of misperception about principles of waste management (specifically the importance of the first and most effective ‘R’ reduction). It is understood that the most effective strategies are inexpensive and attainable by all. The municipality’s participation in Waste Reduction Week Canada campaign (Oct 17-23, 2007) might prove useful in promoting effective individual strategies that reduce the amount of household waste. Campaign materials are readily available through the ministry of the environment’s web site. The municipality could send a flyer regarding these strategies and we could use their posters at the ferry and at municipal buildings. Cost would be minimal.
- Most Howe Island residents have significantly sized properties and therefore significant amounts of yard waste. The committee proposes that an area near the transfer site be designated for yard waste and that a chipper be rented once or twice a year to make mulch that can be made available to residents free of charge. This would eliminate the need for residents to make numerous wasteful trips to KARC and would make good use of a reusable resource (yard waste) to provide free mulch to residents and to our valued Garden Buds. The predicted expense for this project is approximately $750.00 annually.
- As was evidences on Clean Up day, there is a considerable amount of waste being left at roadsides, at the ferry and seemingly thrown from cars. There is a shortage of public waste disposal units in public places such as the ferry lines. The committee proposes to secure donated recycle/waste disposal bins for each side of both ferries and maybe at the municipal building or fire hall. It is hoped that these could be donated by Tim Hortons and McDonalds as much of the waste is attributable to fast food outlets. If donations cannot be found, the municipality would be approached for funding. Unobtrusive units with ports for bottles, cans and waste can be purchased for $895.00 each. We require 4-6 of these.
- Due to the island’s limited waste disposal services, improper dumping is a significant problem at the transfer site. We propose that there be two large and clearly readable signs (one for the Kimco bin and one for the recycling bin) indicating what can and cannot be left at the transit station. This should include hours of operation. The recycling sign should include recyclables, non-recyclables, proper disposal location of non-recyclables, and hours of operation. This is deemed to be an immediate need in order to improve the current situation.
- While we expect an improvement with the placement of the signs, we anticipate that some will continue to drop off items that are not recyclable through this facility (ie. Large furniture items, construction waste, etc.). We propose the removal of these large articles by the garbage man. This would help us achieve some semblance of organization at the site and will serve to discourage improper dumping. Any resident caught dumping should be encouraged to fund the disposal of their items.
The committee understands that there is more room for improvement to Howe Island’s Waste management practices. Strategies to address the problems must include some financial support from the Municipality, commitment to education strategies, accessibility and promotion of viable waste reduction strategies. Some long-term goals to this end include…
- fencing in the transfer site to better monitor access/use
- Staffing more hours for the transfer site
- Re-organization of the site
- Considering potential recycling contract (for next year) with the City of Kingston.
- Backyard Composting Program
- No dumping signs on island