January 26, 2006
Media Release

York Region to partner with area municipalities to coordinate joint waste diversion strategies

Waste initiative to build on existing diversion strategy successes
NEWMARKET The Regional Municipality of York will continue to work closely with its nine area municipalities over the next few months to explore new ways to divert waste from landfills, as the Region works toward updating its existing Waste Management Strategy. 
"We have made great strides in recent years in diverting more waste from landfill, yet the time is right to take an additional look at our waste management priorities for 2006 and the future," said York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  "I am very confident that by working more closely with our area municipalities, we have the potential to establish a common vision and work towards mutual goals of waste diversion."
Since the development of a Regional Waste Management Strategy in 1997, York Region's diversion rate has jumped 11 per cent to 35 per cent in 2005.  Much of this success is directly attributable to:
 The recently opened Waste Management Centre in East Gwillimbury
 The expansion of the Blue Box recycling program to include more types of plastics, empty paint cans, aerosol containers, margarine tubs and other household containers
 The launch of a Source Separated Organics (SSO) kitchen waste composting program in Markham that will be expanded to all other area municipalities
 A multi-year electronics recycling pilot program
 Numerous household goods drop-off events
 An award-winning marketing strategy to raise public awareness of recycling
Future initiatives for 2006 that will also increase the diversion rate include, other York Region municipalities starting SSO programs (beginning with the City of Vaughan), the establishment of waste recycling centres, a new household hazardous waste depot in the City of Vaughan and numerous pilot projects to recycle more plastics, Styrofoam and election signs.
Despite this success, York Region is striving to reach a diversion rate of at least 50 per cent a goal that will require greater coordination of waste management and a realization that the social, economic and regulatory environment has changed substantially since the Waste Management Strategy was originally implemented.
"When the Region's Waste Management Strategy was drafted, we had ready access to landfills and relatively low costs associated with burying waste," said City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Mario Ferri, Chair of the Region's Solid Waste Management Committee.  "With the closure of the Keele Valley landfill site in 2002, rising costs for shipping waste and issues with shipping waste across the border into the State of Michigan, York Region must examine alternate waste diversion technologies and study long-term, environmentally-conscious means of dealing with our garbage."

To help coordinate the process, York Region has retained Lura Consulting to develop joint strategies with the area municipalities, conduct surveys and facilitate public consultation sessions.  It is anticipated that a draft strategy will be completed by May 2006, following a presentation to the Region's Solid Waste Management Committee and York Regional Council.
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For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and the services our Region offers, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca
Media Contact: Michael Kemp, Corporate Communications, York Region
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444, ext. 1232 or after-hours pager 905-830-3302
 Email: michael.kemp@york.ca

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