Tires used as Fuel in Nova Scotia

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The Lafarge cement plant located in Brookfield, Nova Scotia has been given approval by the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment to burn tires for fuel for a 12-month trial.

Despite the fact that there is reams of data available on the use of tire as a fuel in cement plants courtesy of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), the Nova Scotia government, like the Ontario government before it, is treating this full-scale trial as the first ever attempt in the world.

Scrap tires are used as fuel because of their high heating value. Using scrap tires is not recycling, but is considered a beneficial use — it is better to recover the energy from a tire rather than landfill it. About 130 million scrap tires were used as fuel in the United States (about 45% of all generated) — up from 25.9 million (10.7% of all generated) in 1991.  As of 2016, it was estimated about 53 million tires per year are consumed as fuel in US cement kilns.

There are several advantages to using tires as fuel:

  • Tires produce the same amount of energy as oil and 25% more energy than coal;
  • The ash residues from TDF may contain a lower heavy metals content than some coals;
  • Results in lower NOx emissions when compared to many US coals, particularly the high-sulfur coals.

Based on over 15 years of experience with more than 80 individual facilities, the U.S. EPA recognized that the use of tire-derived fuels is a viable alternative to the use of fossil fuels. U.S. EPA testing shows that TDF has a higher BTU value than coal.  Tires are permitted to be used as fuel in portland cement kilns and other industrial facilities in the U.S., so long as the candidate facilities: (1) have a tire storage and handling plan; (2) have secured a permit for all applicable state and federal environmental programs; and (3) are in compliance with all the requirements of that permit.

Nova Scotia Environment Minister Margaret Miller said in a news conference that the decision by her department was based on “science and evidence.”

“We know this isn’t the very first time that tires have ever been used for fuel for a low carbon source of fuel,” she told reporters on her way into Province House.

The industrial approval document, released by the Department of Environment, says LaFarge will need to monitor air quality and ensure there is no groundwater contamination. The company is expected to shoulder the costs of those measures.

During the year-long trial Lafarge will be limited to burning tires to a maximum of 15 per cent of its daily fuel needs or a 20 tonne per day limit.

Nova Scotians who replace their tires pay a $4-a-tire recycling fee that is supposed to go towards programs designed to reuse or recycle them. Lafarge will be getting a portion of that fee to dispose of the tires it will burn, but Premier Stephen McNeil rejected the notion the money is a subsidy.  “I don’t see it as a subsidy,” he said. ” We see this as reducing our environmental footprint from burning coal. It’s recycling in a different way.”

As reported by the CBC, the decision in July 2017 to issue an environmental assessment approval for the project, an initial step in the approval process, drew criticism from environmentalists and nearby residents, from Nova Scotia’s only tire recycler at the time, Halifax C&D Recycling Ltd., and from the NDP.





World Bank Report on Global Waste Issues

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The World Bank recently issued a waste report entitled What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050. The report aggregates extensive solid waste data at the national and urban levels. It estimates and projects waste generation to 2030 and 2050. Beyond the core data metrics from waste generation to disposal, the report provides information on waste management costs, revenues, and tariffs; special wastes; regulations; public communication; administrative and operational models; and the informal sector.

Driven by rapid urbanization and growing populations, global annual waste generation is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years, up from 2.01 billion tonnes in 2016, the report finds.

Although they only account for 16 percent of the world’s population, high-income countries combined are generating more than one-third (34 percent) of the world’s waste. The East Asia and Pacific region is responsible for generating close to a quarter (23 percent) of all waste.  And by 2050, waste generation in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to more than triple from current levels, while South Asia will more than double its waste stream.

Plastics are especially problematic. If not collected and managed properly, they will contaminate and affect waterways and ecosystems for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. In 2016, the world generated 242 million tonnes of plastic waste, or 12 percent of all solid waste, according to the report.

What a Waste 2.0 stresses that solid waste management is critical for sustainable, healthy, and inclusive cities and communities, yet it is often overlooked, particularly in low-income countries.  While more than one-third of waste in high-income countries is recovered through recycling and composting, only 4 percent of waste in low-income countries is recycled.

Based on the volume of waste generated, its composition, and how the waste is being managed, it is estimated tha

t 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent were generated from the treatment and disposal of waste in 2016 – representing about 5 percent of global emissions.

The report notes that good waste management systems are essential to building a circular economy, where products are designed and optimized for reuse and recycling. As national and local governments embrace the circular economy, smart and sustainable ways to manage waste will help promote efficient economic growth while minimizing environmental impact.

Supporting countries to make critical solid waste management financing, policy, and planning decisions is key.  Solutions include:

  • Providing financing to countries most in need, especially the fastest growing countries, to develop state-of-the-art waste management systems.
  • Supporting major waste producing countries to reduce consumption of plastics and marine litter through comprehensive waste reduction and recycling programs.
  • Reducing food waste through consumer education, organics management, and coordinated food waste management programs.

Since 2000, the World Bank has committed over $4.7 billion to more than 340 solid waste management programs in countries across the globe.

The full report can be found at:

Innovations on Recycling of Glass

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by  Charnele Andrews, Sheridan College and John Nicholson, M.Sc., P.Eng


Glass is made by supercooling a hot liquid mixture of sand and soda ash until it is rigid.  With supercooling the material does not crystalize, but keeps the same structure as the liquid.  This also allows for the material to be formed into various structures.  Glass waste generated from municipalities is typically from glass products such as bottles/containers and glassware.

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity.  The challenge with recycling glass is two-fold.  The cost of making glass from sand and soda ash is relatively cheap and the cost of recycling glass is relatively expensive, especially when different colored glass needs to be separated.

Another challenge with glass recycling is contamination.  Glass containers for food and beverages are 100% recyclable, but not with other types of glass.  Other kinds of glass, like windows, ovenware, Pyrex, crystal, etc. are manufactured through a different process.  If these materials are introduced into the glass container manufacturing process, they can cause production problems and defective containers.  As such, recycling glass into cullet is generally what glass recyclers focus on.

A recent survey conducted by the U.S. Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) demonstrates the challenge of glass recycling.  Of the waste glass collected, 54% of it was sent to secondary processors for cleaning in 2017.  The second most common destination of the waste glass was landfill as alternative daily cover (23.5%), followed by landfilling (14.7%0 and uses in aggregate applications (7.8%).

Within the more recent years, there has been more effort in the recovery of postconsumer glass waste.  Recycling facilities aid in the sorting and processing of municipal recyclables like glass. Glass can either be recycled in recycling bins, in some retail locations or at community waste glass drop – off locations.

Typically waste glass in recycling facilities is sorted by colour and crushed to a size less than 50 mm.  Coloured glass, referred to as cullet can be used to manufacture new glass containers.  This however is not used very frequently due to the contamination issues mentioned earlier.

Recycled waste glass when crushed to sizes similar to that of natural sand has properties of an aggregate material.  This aggregate glass material can be used in pipe bedding and the sub surfaces of roads and parking areas.

Recycled glass used to make balls

NexCycle, an Ontario-based company has been recycling glass for 15 years. The company collects both post-consumer and post- industrial scarp waste.  Optical sorting technology is used to sort the glass by colour and purity.  The glass is then processed into cullet, which can be sold to glass manufacturing industries as raw material. NexCycle claims to be the largest supplier of cullet to the glass container/bottle industry in Canada.  The company also sells cullet to fiberglass manufacturers, the glass bead industry.  Ground glass produced by Nexcyle is sold to the abrasive industry.

The Regional Municipality of Niagara in Ontario is looking into creating a new market for recycled glass.  With funding assistance from the Community Improvement Fund, the Municipality will undertake a project that will look into the use of processed recycled glassware in the formation of bio-soil. The processed glassware would be a replacement for the 85% sand component of the bio-soil.  Glass is a resource in which its granular size can be controlled and easily reproduced.  Bio-soil already is used in many places around the Niagara region, including parking lot islands, parks and storm water planters.


Merger of U.S.-based Waste Industries with Canadian-based GFL

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Raleigh’s Waste Industries is merging with Canadian environmental services company GFL Environmental. The $2.8 billion deal will make the combined company the largest privately owned environmental services company in North America.

“The continued evolution of Waste Industries takes another large step forward in this combination with GFL,” says Ven Poole, chairman and CEO of Waste Industries. “These companies complement each other in multiple ways and the management teams share a similar culture oriented around exceptional customer service, operational excellence and our commitment to making a difference in the communities we serve.”

Waste Industries CEO Ven Poole

Formed in the Triangle by Lonnie Poole Jr. in 1970, Waste Industries has been family-owned throughout its expansion across the Southeast. The company’s ownership restructured in 2017 through a buyout deal that sold the company to an investor group that included members of the Poole family, senior company management and two national venture capital firms. Currently, Waste Industries operates in nine states, after acquisitions in Colorado and Pennsylvania in the past two months, with 2,850 employees.

In the spring of 2018, Waste Industries announced it had finalized its merger with Alpine Waste & Recycling, a local non-hazardous solid waste collection and recycling company based in Denver, Colorado.  Alpine was a vertically integrated company operating residential collection, commercial collection, a materials recovery facility, and a landfill.  The acquisition of Alpine represented Waste Industries’ first strategic move outside of its East Coast footprint since the company’s founding.

In 2015, Waste Industries completed a $975 million refinancing of existing credit facilities – with $260 million to be used for acquisitions and corporate purposes.

The largest waste management companies in the world are Engie and Veolia, both headquartered in France.  The largest waste company in North America is Waste Management Inc., followed by Republic Services, Clean Harbors, Stericycle, and Progressive Waste.  Waste Connections is a major Canadian player, generating $4.62 billion (U.S.) in revenue in 2017 according to Statista.

York Environmental Solutions LP acquires SC Disposal Inc.


York Environmental Solutions LP, headquartered in Vaughan Ontario, has acquired SC Disposal Inc. (based in Toronto), expanding its Canadian operations to include full service waste management and recycling services.

Founded by Alex and Spencer Shafran in North York, Ontario, SC Disposal has been providing waste and recycling collection services across the Greater Toronto Area for more than five years to commercial and residential customers. Alex and Spencer

will continue to oversee the existing team and disposal services offered and will be integral as the business transitions to York.

“This acquisition aligns well with our growth plan for York Environmental,” says Brian Brunetti, president and COO of York Group of Companies.

“This acquisition brings a strong team and management group that have earned them solid respect in the GTA and provides York the opportunity the expand our environmental service offerings. The synergies with York Demolition will be recognized immediately and will act as a growth catalyst for both divisions by providing a competitive advantage when competing against traditional companies in these sectors.”

Canadian based York Group of Companies has been in the industry for over 55 years, having provided excavation, demolition, environmental remediation and site preparation for some of the largest commercial and residential projects across the GTA and Southern Ontario. York Environmental Solutions LP was established in 2012 as an affiliate company to York Excavating, providing innovative and cost-effective environmental solutions to construction and land development clients. The team specializes in soil remediation, recycling, haulage and disposal with numerous commercial agreements in the industry.

Micron Waste Reports Outcome of Cannabis Waste System Trial

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Micron Waste Technologies (CSE: MWM, OTC: MICWF), a Vancouver-based developer of waste digesters for food and cannabis waste, recently reported positive results from the optimization of the Cannavore™ cannabis waste processing units with Aurora Cannabis Inc. (“Aurora”) (TSX: ACB). The company will now optimize the technology for sub-zero operations, as well as add computerized remote operating capabilities, following which Micron will commence to offer the units commercially.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the trial and are now moving into commercialization and will begin selling the units to the wider cannabis industry,” said Micron president Alfred Wong. “With the onset of adult usage in Canada and a rapidly growing international cannabis market, the number of operators in the sector has increased dramatically. Current waste disposal methods are expensive and inefficient. Our technology not only significantly improves the economics of cannabis waste disposal, but also streamlines compliance procedures, leading to a substantial reduction in time requirements to deal with waste handling. With our technology, customers will be at the forefront of innovation and environmental stewardship, showing leadership through commitment to clean air and water in Canada and around the world.”

Micron’s first Cannavore was trialed at Aurora’s Mountain facility near Calgary, which is one of seven Aurora facilities. Subject to Micron’s technology meeting certain milestones per a collaboration agreement announced in December 2017, Aurora has committed to installing Micron’s technology at its other facilities. Site visits have commenced for Aurora Vie in Montreal and Aurora Sky in Edmonton. Micron is developing additional units earmarked for these sites.

“With guidance from Aurora, we have developed a system which checks a box previously overlooked by cannabis cultivators,” said Dr. Bob Bhushan, Micron co-founder and chief technology officer. “Data capturing and processing is invaluable and now customers using the Cannavore can go beyond “seed-to-sale” and mine cannabis waste analytics to improve efficiencies, reduce staff time, aid compliance and help evaluate growing operation metrics.”

The industrial-grade Cannavore pulverizes and renders cannabis waste in combination with a proprietary blend of microbes and enzymes designed and developed by Micron. Importantly, as part of Micron’s full-system waste treatment platform, effluent from the digester is further treated to derive clean greywater which can be re-used in growing operations. Alternatively, the treated regulatory-compliant greywater from the Cannavore, which meets municipal discharge standards, can be safely discharged. Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in cannabis waste are further biologically treated via a proprietary process to denature cannabinoids present, keeping them out of watersheds where they could bio-accumulate.

Micron Waste Technologies Treatment System

The Micron Cannavore was engineered based on proven technology used by the Company in its Organic Waste Digester Unit. The world’s first closed-loop cannabis waste processing system was designed to Aurora’s specifications to be a clean technology solution to process organic waste generated from the growth and cultivation of cannabis, while mitigating concerns about the potential environmental impact.

The Cannavore Digester and the Organic Waste Digester units have been awarded an Industrial Design Certificate of Registration from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), with patent pending in the United States.

About Micron Waste Technologies Inc.

Micron Waste Technologies Inc is a technology company with over $6 million in working capital. The Company’s organic waste management system processes organic waste directly on-site and treats the resulting waste water into clean water which meets municipal sewage discharge standards. The treated water can be discharged directly into the sewer or recycled back into industrial or agricultural operations. The Company has developed the world’s first cannabis waste management system which denatures APIs from waste streams.  Micron is a public company with listings on the CSE: MWM, OTC: MICWF, and in Frankfurt: 7FM2.

Is Energy‐from‐Waste Worse Than Coal?

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Covanta recently released a White Paper comparing the greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity generation facilities to energy-from-waste (EFW) plants.  The White Paper was prepared, partially, to counteract the claims of environmental activists that EFW facilities are “worse than coal.”

The White Paper, in fact, proves that EFW facilities are not only cleaner than coal, but represent an important tool in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and other emissions from landfills and serve as an important source of carbon mitigation in the process.  The White Paper points out that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently included EFW as a compliance option in its Clean Power Plan.

The White Paper states that those opposed to EFW due to GHG emissions are wrong on some key facts.  Opponents to EFW only look at total stack emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) on a MWh basis without consideration for the difference between biogenic and fossil CO2 emissions.  Moreover, EFW opponents also fail to compare CO2 emissions from EFW to other methods of managing waste; namely landfilling.  By managing solid wastes concurrently with generating energy, EFW facilities avoid significant landfill emissions of methane, a potent GHG that is 28 to 34 times more potent a GHG than CO2 over 100 years lifespan.


The Covanta White Paper also notes the EFW outperforms coal on other emissions as well.  The U.S. EPA found the lifecycle emissions of EFW facilities to be lower on average than those for coal-fired facilities for sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM), even before the benefits of avoided landfill emissions were considered.



New Waste-to-Fuel Technologies from Finland and Japan

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Two international companies recently showcased their respective waste-to-fuel technologies at a seminar held in Thailand and arranged by the Waste-to-Energy Trade Association.

BMH Technology of Finland promotes its waste-to-energy system as a high-quality substitute for fossil fuels, while Japan’s Hokuto Kogyo Company uses a hydrothermal technique to decompose waste. The two companies Wednesday presented at a seminar on the latest waste-management technologies, arranged by Waste-to-Energy Trade Association.

Kristian Batisto, business development engineer of BMH Technology, said his company’s high-tech waste-to-fuel process, can transform a wide variety of materials – including mixed municipal solid waste (MSW), commercial waste and industrial waste – into high-quality solid recovered fuel (SRF). That fuel, when burned, can generate high heat and energy, he said.

The company frames SRF as a “premium-grade waste fuel”, of a much higher quality for industrial use or for generating electricity than ordinary waste fuel or refuse derived fuel (RDF). The breakthrough lies in the additional processing that the input waste of SRF must go through to improve the quality and value of the output product.

The incoming waste must pass through many stages of processing by a “Tyrannosaurus” machine that gradually pulls out non-combustible materials such as glass and metal and then shreds the remaining combustible materials to create the solid recovered fuel output. That output can then be used as a fuel to power many kinds of industrial uses as well as electricity generation.

One key component of the Tyrannosaurus machine is  the MIPS® (Massive Impact Protection System).  With MIPS, the shredder spits out large pieces of metal that cannot be crushed automatically. Therefore there will be no damage to the shredder and the process line will not stop for any long periods of time. With the MIPS® system, no one has to take items out of the shredder which ensures a high safety level to the workers and longevity of the equipment.

“Compared to fossil fuels such as coal and oil, or even normal RDF, the SRF output from Tyrannosaurus not only has high calorific value and constant fuel quality, but it also emits very low pollution and greenhouse gases,” Batisto said.

TYRANNOSAURUS® Waste refining process example

“As our waste-processing system can efficiently separate out polluted substances within the input waste, only combustible waste is processed into SRF. It will emit a very small amount of pollution and greenhouse gases and meet the safe standards for dioxins and carbon dioxide.”

Batisto said many countries in the European Union as well as China, South Korea and India have already adopted this waste-to-fuel technology. The installation cost for a Tyrannosaurus waste processing system was around 3 million euros ($4.5 million Cdn.).


Japan’s Hokuto Kogyo company representative, Yasuno Tamio, previewed its hydrothermal treatment technology at the Thailand seminar.  Hokuto Kogyo claims it can transform the structure of waste by processing it in water at a very high temperature and under high pressure to turn it into useful materials – waste fuel and bioplastic.

Bioplastic are plastics created from biomass such as using wood powder or corn starch and are considered biodegradable.  The company claims the bioplastic is much safer for the environment, than plastic manufactured from petroleum hydrocarbons for a number of reasons including the lifecycle CO2 footprint.

Tamio said the technology could efficiently transform and detoxify waste, making it suitable for treating hazardous wastes such as infectious waste from hospitals. The hydrothermal technology process also generates no air pollution because no burning is involved.

Hokuto Kogyu claims its hydrothermal technology generates no dioxins and zero carbon dioxide (as there is no burning processes).  The resulting product can be utilized as an alternative fuel to coal.

Waste Container Monitoring Guide


OnePlus Systems Inc. recently released an Essential Guide to Waste Container Monitoring designed to assist in the understanding of how waste container monitoring works and its benefits.

Container monitoring uses sensors and powerful algorithms to detect the fullness level of different types of containers, including compactors, front-end loaders, street-side trash bins, and many others.  Depending on the type of container, sensors may also provide insight into the unit’s location, temperature, service trends, and maintenance requirements.  These devices optimize the waste management process by automatically notifying the hauler or appropriate contact when a container is at the optimal fullness level and ready to be picked up.

There are two main technologies for monitoring waste containers – hydraulic pressure sensors and ultrasonic sensors.  Hydraulic sensors measure pressure and are typically used for compactors.  Ultrasonic sensors use high frequency sound waves to determine the fullness of a container such as a waste oil tank, clothing donation bind, and C&I trash bins.

Compactor Monitoring System

Waste bin monitoring system









Waste container monitoring can help organizations save over 30% on waste transportation costs through reduced hauls.  Beyond cost savings, waste container monitoring can deliver benefits such as increased operating productivity and reduced carbon footprint.  There are a number of companies that are benefiting from waste monitoring solutions including Home Depot and Lowes.


Guy Crittenden: Advanced Waste Solutions and its Evolution in Canada

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by Guy Crittenden

Three years ago I left a very satisfying 25-year career editing business magazines focused on environmental protection in order to pursue a fresh opportunity. For more than two decades I edited the publication of record for the Canadian waste and recycling industry; when one leaves such a position, one might stay closely affiliated with the industry, e.g., working for a major company, becoming a consultant, or serving on the board of a trade association. Many are the times I witnessed people retire only to return after a short respite to such a position.

When I left, I truly departed! I haven’t attended conferences or trade shows, and have only met a handful of times in the past three years with former professional colleagues. Yet I think about waste and recycling issues often, and sometimes comment to a friend or relative upon an innovative waste recycling bin or gadget, or a truck driving along the highway with the logo of a past advertiser. One never fully leaves the waste industry; the impact of understanding its issues and strategies is permanent.

The Amazon River (Photo Credit: G. Crittenden)

So I was happy to learn recently that my former colleague and publisher Brad O’Brien and our regular technology columnist John Nicholson have paired up to launch this new online publication, to continue into the future the tradition of publishing excellence we established back in the early 1990s. Over the years, apart from the many wonderful people I befriended in the industry, my main interests were the innovative strategies to reduce or eliminate waste in the first place (e.g., European packaging ordinances), product and packaging re-design, and (especially) environmental technologies and automation.

There’s no doubt the future of waste management will incorporate “leapfrog” technologies and solutions unimaginable when we launched our first publication in the early 1990s. Computers, GPS, real-time monitoring and billing, automated sorting, new products made from discarded materials… it’s an interesting time to be involved in this rapidly-changing industry, and I offer my best wishes to my former colleagues in their exciting new venture!

If you’re interested in learning what I’m up to myself nowadays, I invite you to visit my brand new website


About Guy Crittenden

Guy is freelance writer who recently retired from a 25-year career in the business-to-business press in Canada, where he edited two trade magazines, Solid Waste & Recycling and Hazmat Management Magazine, that he co-founded with partners in 1989. He and his partners  sold the business in 1999 to a conglomerate for which he worked for the next 15 years.

Guy is now pursuing other writing interests, including books, magazine articles and blogs. To his long-held environmental themes he recently added adventure travel writing and a range of other topics that include spirituality and shamanism.

Guy is a graduate of the University of Toronto, earning a Honours BA in English Language and Literature/Letters.