Success announced in zero-waste Ribfest initiative

By Cecilia Nasmith

The 2018 Northumberland Ribfest in August was planned as a zero-waste event.

Northumberland County has issued a press release proudly proclaiming a 70% waste-diversion rate.

This means 4,100 kg. of corn cobs, rib bones, paper straws, wooden forks, napkins and other items were successfully diverted from the landfill.

This 70% rate compares with a diversion rate of 10% in previous years at the Cobourg event, and is largely due to the work of the county and the event organizers, the Rotary Club of Cobourg.

County director of transportaion and waste Mo Pannu called the initiative a great success in the press release.

“By offering waste-sorting stations and requiring vendors to use only recyclable or compostable utensils, we were able to divert the equivalent of over 200 bags of trash that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill,” Pannu estimated.

As part of this initiative, all organic waste was sent to SusGlobal Energy Belleville to be composted, and all recyclable materials (such as bottles, cans, and cups) were processed at the Northumberland County Material Recovery Facility in Grafton. The small amount of remaining waste was consigned to landfill.

“This initiative is a great example of the amount of waste that we can keep out of the landfill when we work together as a community,” county chief administrative officer Jennifer Moore added.

“Thanks to the success of the event, the Rotary Club of Cobourg has committed to continuing the zero-waste initiative at Northumberland Ribfest in future years. The county will also continue to advance diversion efforts throughout Northumberland with the introduction of two-stream recycling and a residential green-bin organics program in the fall of 2019.”

The green-bin program will accept all residential food waste for collection and conversion into a valuable resource such as compost. The proper disposal of residential organics will reduce the amount of organic waste in the county's landfill, performing an instrumental role in extending the lifespan of the Brighton landfill.

Diversion efforts such as the zero-waste Ribfest initiative align with the county’s long-term goal of achieving 75% diversion county-wide.

For more information about Northumberland County’s Long-Term Waste Management Master Plan, visit