By Chad Ingram
Minden Hills councillors received a corporate climate mitigation plan for the township during an Aug. 31 online meeting, with some councillors saying they’d like to see the implementation of a municipal composting program.
The County of Haliburton hired climate change co-ordinator Korey McKay last fall, and McKay has been working on corporate climate change mitigation plans for the county and its four lower-tier townships for most of the past year. The first step was taking greenhouse gas inventories for the county and each of its lower tiers, then having the councils for each municipal government set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. The first phase of the project is the creation of corporate climate change mitigation plan for the county and each of the four lower tiers, corporate greenhouse gas emissions being those that are produced by the municipal governments themselves.
For Minden Hills, the greatest share of its corporately emitted greenhouse gases comes from its landfill sites, which constitute 81 per cent of emissions. The township’s vehicle fleet constitutes 12 per cent of emissions, and its buildings seven per cent. Those figures are based on a greenhouse gas audit which used information collected in 2018. Council has set greenhouse gas reduction targets of 10 per cent for waste disposal sites, 10 per cent for its fleet and 20 per cent for its buildings by the year 2030. Reaching this target would mean its corporate greenhouse gas emissions would drop from 4,253 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually to 3,801 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.
For waste disposal sites, McKay suggested completing a waste audit “and implementing strategies to reduce the waste that’s provided in municipal facilities.”
McKay also suggested a waste composition study be undertaken at landfill sites.
“So, determining how much of our waste is organic versus non-organic, what exactly is it made up of,” she said. “This would be better information to base program decisions off of.”
“Obviously these are early days and it’s good to see some more detail about where we’re going with this, obviously it’s an ongoing program,”said Mayor Brent Devolin. A working group of municipal staff from throughout the county will drill down on details of specific climate change mitigation policies for municipalities, and a community climate change mitigation plan for the public and county at large is scheduled to follow.
“You already know that 81 per cent of our emissions is coming from the landfill and so I’m thinking that is organic waste,” said Councillor Jean Neville. “I think that time and money and effort should be put into investigating a bio-digestor of some sort, and even if you had one for the county, that encouraged people to take their organic waste there rather than doing more study.”
“Definitely noted for the implementation,” McKay said.
Councillor Bob Carter agreed that something should be done at the municipal level when it comes to organic waste. Organic waste placed into composters produces far less methane than organic waste that is buried in a landfill, because oxygen gets involved in the decomposing process.
“So it would seem that a composting process at the landfills would be something that would be a benefit, then,” Carter said. “I’m very along the lines of doing what Councillor Neville suggested or other methods of doing that because, you know, from my perspective, you’re not going to change the output without reducing the input.”