Congratulations Guelph! We are #1 again

When I returned to office in 2007, I was shocked at the neglect of our waste management system.  The infrastructure was literally rotting.  We had fallen so far from our leadership position in Ontario.

I was determined to turn this around.

Fortunately, Council and the community were behind me.

Waste Diversion Ontario has issued a press release today announcing Guelph achieved the highest 2012 diversion of municipal waste from landfill in Ontario.  Guelph will become the first recipient of the Ron Lance Memorial Award launched in November 2013 as an annual award.

Read the press release about the Ron Lance Memorial Award here:
See the top 20 rankings here:

The award-winning new Organic Waste Processing Facility is a significant part of our current achievement.  The construction of the facility was on time and under budget and it is performing as intended.  Excess capacity, designed to accommodate future growth of the city, has been sold to Waterloo.

It was not easy.  There was, and still is, a small, but vocal, group that doesn’t support our vision for waste management.  I do not agree with all their tactics – especially the harassment of staff and members of Council.  However, we have persisted, strengthened important relationships with the community, and gained the support of some of our strongest critics.

Today our entire community deserves to be proud of our leadership.  I know I am.

Today, we are good ancestors.


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About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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4 Comments on “Congratulations Guelph! We are #1 again”

  1. Dennis Galon Says:

    I suspect, Karen, that whatever negativity still exists in Guelph around garbage is related to the new bin system, and this is no different than than usual nay-saying that comes with just about anything new the is imposed on our lives.

    Madam Mayor, do you think that our impressive diversion rate was significantly improved by the bin system, or would we have achieved about the same result had we retained the three bag system?

    In the end, as I recall, we were pretty much forced to the bins by the province when they prohibited plastic bags. So the question becomes, did the province in the end do us a favour with that pressure, or did it just increase our costs?

  2. Ron Says:

    I would disagree with the above comment regarding “nay-sayers”.

    It is great that the City gets an award for waste diversion, but in the meantime are dropping the ball for Condo regarding waste collection.

    Perhaps before taking credit and basking in the glow of awards the city should address the issue facing condo dwelling tax payers.

    Until all residents are able to participate in the new bin system, the waste diversion numbers will be flawed.

  3. kfarbridge Says:

    Completely agree. The diversion numbers refer to what we collect. We need to continue to bring more homes onto the system to increase overall volume of diversion. This is a focus of the current review of our Waste Management Master Plan. Condo owners have done an excellent job at getting this issue on the table.

  4. ksulliva Says:

    Hi Dennis,

    The bin system does reduce the number of plastic bags going to landfill, and it also saves $400,000 a year in waste collection costs. But in 2012, the year for which our diversion rate is being recognized, just one-third of the City had begun using carts. The larger factor was the opening of the organic waste processing facility.

    Kate Sullivan, Mayor’s Office

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