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Guelph wet plant

City of Guelph

“Paper bags remain the recommended choice as they break down completely in the composting process, whereas certified compostable plastic bags may leave behind trace amounts of plastic film in the processed compost,” says a city hall report.

Compostable bags for green bins get go-ahead

City hall has got provincial approval to let residents line their green bins with compostable plastic bags to keep them clean.
A staff report that went Monday to a city council committee says residents now have the option to use either paper bags or certified compostable plastic bags to line their green carts, whose organic waste goes to the city’s new composting plant.
“Paper bags remain the recommended choice as they break down completely in the composting process, whereas certified compostable plastic bags may leave behind trace amounts of plastic film in the processed compost,” the report says.
The provincial Ministry of the Environment told the city in August 2010 that it couldn’t use any kind of plastic in the wet waste system once the city’s phased conversion from bags to carts is completed in 2014. The ministry was concerned that using plastic could increase the chances of an odour problem at the composting plant.
Bin collection started in Guelph on Nov. 5 for the first phase, which includes one-third of city households. The rest of the city is still using the noncompostable green, blue and clear bags that have been used for years in Guelph.
The MOE’s decision this month to allow compostable bags after all has advantages aside from giving Guelphites the choice to use them to keep their green bins clean, the report says. It also increases the city’s opportunities to accept privately hauled organic waste from the industrial, commercial and institutional sector, or from other municipalities that use certified compostable bags.
The city already has a contract with Waterloo Region to use a lot of the space in the new composting plant to process organic waste from Waterloo Region, which doesn’t allow any sort of plastic in its green bins.
The composting plant has done well in dealing with odour issues since starting up again in February after making changes to deal with smell complaints last fall, the report says.
The plant’s “odour control systems are performing optimally, as evidenced by the recent odour survey conducted by the MOE,” it says. The MOE investigated over the summer and found no link between the city’s new composting plant and a few odour complaints received from the public since February.

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