As a rural community, historically the County promoted and supported backyard composting as the main method of diverting organics from landfill. Composting is a true circular economy as the scraps created in preparing foods harvested from gardens are returned to soils as nutrient-rich compost which will then nourish new plants.
To capture and divert even more food waste, curbside collection of organics began in July 2020, a service provided to all single-family households across the County every week. This program has been successful in collecting nearly 6,800 tonnes of organics in the first 2.5 years of the program. In order to better understand residents’ habits related to food waste to achieve even greater results in the future, the County undertook extensive food waste audits with a select and diverse group of households. In partnership with the University of Guelph, the County developed and delivered an intervention kit to each of the sample households then reassessed their food waste routines through more auditing. The households were then invited to participate in a survey to gauge the effectiveness of the intervention. The results of these efforts will continue to be utilized to shape future programs, services and communication efforts.