The Best Way to Meet Diversion Goals

Extend the life of landfills, reduce processing costs (and contamination penalties), and achieve your sustainability goals

In recent years, as climate fluctuations generate a continuous stream of headlines and the generation coming of age becomes more outspoken about the world they stand to inherit, green movements and sustainability initiatives are increasing in frequency and volume.

This post quickly explains why effective diversion is vitally important, and how Molok® containers are uniquely capable of helping to increase diversion rates.

Other major Molok® benefits

In addition to increasing diversion, Molok® containers also:

  • Lower the costs associated with waste management
  • Enable better use of real estate and outdoor spaces
  • Improve the appearance of waste stations and the places where they’re installed

Effective diversion is essential for meeting sustainability goals

Cities and municipalities are grappling with the practical limitations of landfills. As a result, many are aiming to extend the lifetime of landfills by diverting other waste streams — recycling, organics, etc. — to processing facilities. As an added benefit to diversion, the outputs of these facilities — including metals, glass, and compost — can contribute revenue.

The success of such progressive plans is hugely dependent upon how well users sort their waste at the source — the residences, businesses, and other locations where waste is first put into collection bins. For example, the Region of Waterloo’s Annual Report on Waste Management noted that, “The most important step in our recycling system is the first sort.”

Unfortunately, traditional waste management containers can work against such progressive plans: when users are confused or otherwise put off (e.g., by mess or smells), they’re less likely to correctly sort their waste, and instead resort to the path of least resistance: shoving it all into one container, which reduces diversion and increases contamination.

But Molok® containers are different.

Molok® units are proven to increase diversion rates

Molok® Deep Collection™ containers are easy to use (and accessible to people of all ages and abilities), cleaner and safer than alternatives, and offer greater installation flexibility than traditional solutions — which means they can be installed to maximize user convenience (rather than being hidden away in the shadows or installed to prioritize collection convenience).

These characteristics, plus additional factors like custom portal sizing (and slits for cardboard), mean that users are far more likely to appropriately sort their waste versus when using confusing, gross, or inconvenient alternatives; ultimately, all of this leads to increased diversion rates, as well as decreased contamination of separated waste streams.

These benefits have been known for a long time.

For example, the November, 2002 issue of the BioCycle Journal of Composting & Organics Recycling contained an article titled, “Multifamily Organics Separation Pilots in Toronto,” which details the results of a pilot program that used Molok® Deep Collection™ containers in residential buildings in Toronto. The article notes that, “The prepilot diversion rate from the building averaged 21 percent. Since April, it has had an average diversion rate of 60 percent with the new system.” At the same time, “The organic material from both buildings has been very clean so far with less than five percent contamination.”

One consequence of the increase in deliveries is a massive increase in the amount of recyclables — primarily cardboard and plastics — associated with residential properties. Waste stations like this one make it easy for tenants to contribute to diversion efforts.

But increased diversion isn’t limited just to residences: Algonquin Park: A Waste Diversion Success Story explains how “Algonquin Park in Central Ontario is earning praise from the province’s Environmental Commissioner for improving their waste diversion rate from 20 per cent in 2004 to 40 per cent overall by 2011/2012. And 40 per cent is simply the average: six sites in the park diverted more than 50 per cent of their waste, with one – the Algonquin Park Visitors Centre – hitting 70 per cent diversion.”

Key to the success of this program is the Molok® Deep Collection™ system (including the bear-proof lids!): “The containers are visually appealing, and are in over 30 locations along the Highway 60 corridor [for] a total of over 130 Molok® containers,” explained Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry representative Jolanta Kowalski.

Four of the more than 130 Molok® containers in Algonquin Park’s sprawling 7,500+ km2 (nearly 3,000 square miles). Note the use of the bear-proof lids!

Tips for maximizing diversion

The best way to meet diversion goals is to make it easy, convenient, and safe for users to sort their waste at the source:

  • Make users feel safe: whenever possible, place waste stations in open and well-lit areas where users won’t be afraid to spend a few moments
  • Keep waste stations clean: messes and odors aren’t only unpleasant, they also attract pests
  • Keep waste stations accessible: dumpsters and carts can be outright inaccessible to portions of the population and difficult to use for others
  • Use clear signage for each waste stream: beyond basic signage, listing common examples of acceptable/unacceptable waste can increase user confidence and reduce contamination
  • Help users understand the importance: people are more likely to support diversion initiatives when they understand the purpose — whether contributing to sustainability goals or trying to minimize waste management costs