Organic waste collection and processing

busy downtown square

Low Carbon Economy Fund graphic

GROW Peterborough

The City is implementing a city-wide organic waste collection and composting program, GROW (Green Resource Organics Works) Peterborough, with support from the federal government's Low Carbon Economy Fund. The program is expected to launch in fall 2023 after consultation, getting the necessary approvals, designing and building the centralized composting facility, acquiring the collection equipment including containers, trucks, and rolling out city-wide collection.

The federal government is contributing $6.1 million toward the $15.3-million project.

A city-wide organic waste collection and processing program will help Peterborough achieve the goals of the Waste Free Ontario Act, which aims to divert 100% of organic material from landfills with an expected ban on landfilling organics by 2022.

Organic material makes up about 40% of residential waste in Canada. At full capacity, our GROW centralized composting facility could be designed to accept up to 40,000 tonnes of organic material per year from the City and County of Peterborough.

Environmental benefits - Climate action

Organics produce methane gas as they're decomposing in an uncontrolled method in a landfill - a greenhouse gas that's 10 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.

By reducing methane gas production at the landfill through diverting organic material for composting, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 1,943 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2030 and by a total of 79,305 tonnes between 2023 and 2050.

Another environmental benefit from the composting program is the material that's produced from composting is nutrient rich material that is re-introduced to the earth. Using composted material improves soil, reduces the need for pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizer.

Design and technology

Aerial view of a centralized composting site with rows of covered organic material

For the composting facility, the City is planning to use a Gore system, which is a proven, engineered system that uses an aerobic process to minimize methane gas production and mitigate odour related to organic waste. Diverting organic waste from the landfill to a composting facility brings the organic materials into a controlled space with aeration fans, temperature monitoring, and a system to cover the material and capture water runoff.

Diagram of composting system with covers and engineered trenches

Project timeline

The city-wide organic waste collection and centralized composting facility is expected to begin service in the fall of 2023.

  • September 2019 to August 2022 – Permitting and approvals (e.g. environmental compliance approval, preliminary design, and consultation).
  • September 2022 to December 2023 – Acquiring and mobilizing collection vehicles and household collection equipment. Promoting the start of the program, education, and support.
  • March 2022 to October 2023 – Detailed design (e.g. civil, electrical, structural, and mechanical design specifications for the facility). Issue tender to get contractor quotes for the construction of the facility.
  • September 2022 to October 2023 – Construction of facility, commissioning of composting system, launch of household organic waste collection and processing program.

Documents and resources

 Organic waste collection and centralized composting facility documents and resources