OrgaWorld, Diapers and WMMP

OrgaWorld, Diapers and WMMP
Posted on January 15, 2014 | William (Bill) Toms | Written on January 11, 2014
Letter type:

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

My letter to Ottawa City Councillors regarding the Orgaworld Green bin contract...

Hello Councillors,

Can I respectfully suggest that Councillors on the Environment Committee (EC) might want to consider looking outside of the "box" (or in this case outside the green bin).

I have asked both the mayor and ex-mayor (Chiarelli) why the City of Ottawa could not follow the recent lead of New York City and require large commercial operations located in Ottawa to have in place a recycling plan for their organics.  If it were properly structured it would be a source of feedstock for our unfilled OrgaWorld quota.  Neither have replied perhaps because I also questioned whether there was already authority within the City of Toronto Act for it to be done there.  I have been told in the past that there is no real authority here within Ottawa with respect to IC&I waste.  If we do not ask for this authority it will never be granted to us.

I also think we should seriously re-evaluate the current exclusion of both diapers/adult incontinence products and dog doo.  Toronto, Markham and other places allow these things in their programs and while it might have been the right thing to do when we thought the volumes were not needed, it is time for a rethink.  The odour problems from the London Orgaworld plant from processing Toronto's diapers that was of such concern a few years ago is now ancient history.  I am unsatisfied with the staff reply to Councillor Hubley's inquiry about the costs of special needs program that provides off week pickups for diapers.  The reply is disingenuous to suggest that the cost of this special program with online registration etc would be similar to the average cost of collecting all municipal curbside waste.

If diapers etc reduce the quality of the compost output so be it... on a straight $ basis we would probably save money by increasing the amounts tipped even if the produced compost were to sell for somewhat less?   As you may recall the ink was hardly dry on the City's contract with OrgaWorld before the company scurried down to Toronto to ask for an expansion of their Certificate to include diapers to attract future business.

I expect that these two suggestions will not be considered seriously within the WMMP that will be marched through an EC meeting some time in late February.  Presentations from the public at EC are usually a complete waste of time and the new ESAC meets even less often than EC has this year.  Furthermore, after almost a year ESAC does not seemed to have reached out to the public on waste matters. Perhaps they have been doing there own work behind closed doors and will be doing a presentation in February?   Their approved work plan last year did highlight waste matters as a priority as I recall.

Bill Toms


About The Author

Bill Toms's picture

BA (Honours Economics) MA York University
Federal Public Servant for 33 years at National Energy Board, Energy Mines & Resources (NRCAN), Bureau of Competition Policy, Environment Canada and Finance Canada... More



Bill.. nice of you to make these suggestions. There are people living around the Orgaworld facility that opposed it from day one. Diapers add another level of smell to the air in this area. Prior to making suggestions on what should be allowed into Orgaworld, try to consider what the surrounding air will be like with diapers and even more organic waste.


OrgaWorld has a similar facility that does process diapers in London Ontario. That facility did indeed have some odour problems a few years ago. These problems were apparently fully resolved and OrgaWorld actually sought to have diapers allowed in their Ottawa facility shortly after the it was opened. Any change to allow the current facility in Ottawa to also process diapers would have to approved by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Michael Stewart

Hi, Bill,
I'm just an interested citizen, but I have looked into it.
The City contract with Orgaworld does allow for the addition of dogwaste and diapers. Unfortunately, it requires a 35% increase in the overall contract cost. That over 16 years is serious money. And then there is the issue of parasites. The City does offer a diaper pickup, and as for the matter of dogwaste, a dog owner consortium is working with the city to develop a plan to eliminate this addition to landfill.

What I'm unclear on, is why we can't recycle plastic bags.