Solid Waste Management Master Plan
The City of Hamilton waste management system includes waste collection, processing/recycling and disposal infrastructure. To prioritize and guide the future of this system, the City established a 25-year Solid Waste Management Master Plan (SWMMP) in 2001.
About the Solid Waste Management Master Plan (SWMMP) Review
Beginning in 2019, staff began the process to update the SWMMP. The goal of this process was to create an action plan for five years (2021 to 2025) that struck a balance between what the public thought were priorities, what has been successful in other municipalities and what staff saw as feasible and practical.
The guiding principles of the SWMMP are:
- The City must maintain responsibility for the residual wastes generated within its boundaries. Inter-regional facilities may be considered for both divertible material and residual waste..
- The Glanbrook landfill is a valuable resource, and the City must optimize the use of its disposal capacity to ensure that there is a disposal site for Hamilton’s residual materials that cannot be otherwise diverted.
- The City must lead and encourage the changes necessary to adopt the principle of Waste Minimization.
Solid Waste Management Master Plan Five-Year Review - Review the Update to the SWMMP, approved by Council on Nov. 26, 2020 and Appendix A - SWMMP 2020 Update.
2021-2025 SWMMP Action Items
This update includes 11 action items that will be carried out by staff over the next five years (2021 to 2025).
Focuses on completing a feasibility study on expanding the type and quantity of C&D wastes that are managed by the City, how this would support the SWMMP guiding principles and how the City could influence the management of C&D material without actually increasing the City’s role. This may focus on education and/or potential partnerships with local commercial operations.
This action item will determine the most effective use of the property that currently houses the City’s Material Recycling Facility and Central Composting Facility. With long-term unknown impacts on this property, such as the details around the blue box program transitioning to producers, the City needs to determine the best use of this property, and options depending on different scenarios. This will involve studies on design options to maximize the space of the facility and to support the overall waste management system within the City of Hamilton.
Three active Hamilton programs will be reviewed to determine how to best improve them: business recognition, waste diversion at special events and school education on waste programs. Some of the work involved in improving these programs may be carried out in conjunction with the implementation of the Hamilton Strategy to Reduce Single-Use Plastics, which includes action items under each of these programs.
Staff will contribute to the development of internal policies that support the recognition of what qualifies as a “green” product and recommend preference be provided to those products.
This action item will look at the feasibility of options to reject garbage set out at the curb based on what is included in the container and would include recommending updated waste policies that include banning certain materials in the garbage stream and investigating the standardization of curbside monitoring between City and contracted collection staff. This may also include preliminary evaluation of using clear garbage bags.
This will establish a policy to allow greater autonomy to staff when engaging in partnerships with other municipalities that support the SWMMP’s guiding principles. The policy will clarify the degree to which participation in exploratory inter-municipal working groups can progress before obtaining approval from the Waste Management Advisory Committee or Public Works Committee to proceed further.
This action item will investigate potential changes to the way waste is collected prior to preparation of the next waste collection contract. This could include investigating new collection methods such as automated cart collection and alterations to the current collections schedule.
Create a policy that will provide greater support for programs led by community groups and non-profit organizations that drive reuse and waste reduction.
The current trash tag program will be reviewed to identify any opportunities to better align this program with the SWMMP guiding principles. The review will include data gathering and analyzing what program changes make the most sense for consideration.
Update the waste audit methodology for single-family homes so that the audits are more in line with the goals of the SWMMP and to provide more usable and reliable data. This will involve a study to review the audit methodology and determine appropriate audit sample size, timing of audits, sample areas etc.
New metrics to measure the success of the waste management program will be investigated and implemented. An example of a potential new metric is providing the carbon footprint of different waste streams and reporting on this annually to Council. New supporting policies will also be looked at and put into practice to drive improvement in the new metrics. A potential policy could be landfill bans on items that can be recycled or placed in the green bin.