The Solid Waste Authority will issue a request for proposals for the treatment of organic waste

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In an effort to meet looming provincial waste diversion targets – and keep organic waste out of landfills – the Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority board has chosen to issue a request for proposals for a organic waste treatment provider.

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The authority’s board finalized and approved a request for proposals this week which, when issued, would see kitchen waste treated separately from other waste in the area within a few years.

An outline of the RFP indicates that the processing contractor must have experience in processing organic waste and provide one or more facilities to receive and process materials from Windsor and Essex County. They must also transport and dispose of the residues, and market the “end product”, for a “beneficial use”, such as compost for fertilizers or renewable natural gas. The institution must be located in Ontario.

The solid waste authority will be responsible for collecting organic waste, delivering it to the contracted treatment facility, and promoting and educating the program “to maximize green bin participation and capture rate, and minimize contamination”.

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An oversight committee hopes to select a preferred contractor by this summer, after which it could take up to two years to obtain the necessary processing capacity. The RFP does not define a specific start date, as various municipalities in the region have different waste collection contracts.

“But the goal would be to start services by early 2025 at the latest,” Tracy Beadow, project administrator for the City of Windsor, told the board on Tuesday. “If possible, if we can start earlier, then so be it.”

For several years, the administration has been working to establish a regional organic waste collection program to meet Ontario’s diversion targets before the province’s 2025 deadline. The Waste-Free Ontario Act requires a large municipality like Windsor to divert 70% of its organics and begin curbside collection. Smaller municipalities – LaSalle, Tecumseh, Amherstburg and Leamington – do not require curbside collection, but must provide collection via a public depot or community composting area for 50% diversion. Kingsville, Essex, and Lakeshore, which have even smaller populations and lower population densities, don’t have to divert organics at all.