Gravenhurst has a waste problem and council has passed a motion stating that the Town “should lead the example with real action to achieve a better diversion waste of garbage, including at special events.”
The motion, tabled by Mayor Heidi Lorenz was passed at the Aug. 15 Committee of the Whole meeting. Lorenz said, “we have one of the worst records in the province as far as waste diversion and we should be walking the walk and talking the talk… and encourage our residents and our visitors to do the right thing.”
Gravenhurst’s current waste diversion rate is 36%. However, many communities across the province achieve over 50%.
Lorenz said part of the motion aims to address the issue of single-use plastics such as giveaways at events like trade shows.
“The made-in-China giveaways that end up in the landfill, people get them for a short period of time, stick them in their tote bag and then we know where they end up…we should be looking at whether or not we approve of those sorts of giveaways.”
She hopes “we can have this place for 2024, so when you get your permit, you tell the Town how it is you’re going to dispose of your garbage.”
Coun. Christina Hunter said she was “excited” about this, as she “could talk about waste diversion all day.” She said vendors who set up at special events will often only do what is required on their permit in terms of waste.
Hunter gave an example of a vendor she saw at one event who had specific receptacles, such as for compost. But when she saw the same vendor at a different event, they did not have it. Hunter said she asked what happened and the vendor told her it wasn’t required at this event and it was cheaper to not do it.
“That’s a perfect example of when she was told to, she did it and then when she wasn’t told to, she didn’t,” she concluded.
Coun. Penny Varney commented that responsible waste diversion is possible and already occurring sometimes. At a recent event at the Northern Pass waterfront, she was “very impressed by the recycling that those people brought to our town and it was all divided up, it was incredible and they brought their containers with them, it was very well organized.”
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