Pointe-Claire looking for households to enter Zero-Waste Challenge

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The City of Pointe-Claire, a suburb of Greater Montreal, is planning to conduct a Zero-Waste Challenge and is looking for eight households to participate. The challenge will involve the households adopting best practices for the management of household waste.

“This initiative is part of our collective desire to make Pointe-Claire a city dedicated to sustainable development, both through our municipal actions and the promotion of citizen practices that contribute to environmental protection,” stated Mayor John Belvedere in a news release.

From March to October 2020, the chosen households will have to come up with ideas and take concrete steps to reduce waste at the source, that is, from the moment of purchase. To do so, they will benefit from a coaching service and will rely on a diagnosis of their lifestyle, a realistic and appropriate target, tips and tricks and telephone support. A conference and workshops will also be offered: making home-made household and personal care products, and preparing zero-waste lunches.

To track their progress, the eight households will have to commit to weighing household, organic and recyclable waste every month for the seven months of the challenge.

“Everyone is invited to take part in this challenge, which is an opportunity to make a tangible contribution to protecting our planet by limiting the amount of waste that ends up in landfills,” Mayor Belvedere stated.

Households interested in taking part in the challenge have until February 5 to apply to City.

Micron Waste suspends development of cannabis waste treatment technology

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Micron Waste Technologies Inc. (CSE: MWM, OTC: MICWF), an organic waste technology company, recently announced that it has suspended development of the cannabis-industry waste digester system in light of changing market conditions. The company stated that a longer product development was required to reach the commercialization stage of the cannabis waste treatment system.

In its news release, the company stated that the cannabis industry is not currently funding new technologies and this has resulted in a lower outlook on the commercial viability of the company’s Cannavore™ system.

The CannavoreTM is an integrated cannabis waste shredder, microbial digester, and water treatment system. It is designed to operate outside of the facility and has safeguards to prevent biological contamination in the cultivation facility.

In 2017, Micron Waste Technologies signed a non-binding agreement with Aurora Cannabis under which Micron would install an organic waste digester unit at one of Aurora’s growing facilities and where the companies would work to optimize the technology for the cannabis industry.  Under the agreement, Aurora (TSX:ACB) would have the option to buy additional units for its other facilities at a preferred price once the optimization program is complete and is proven viable.

The Company will continue to focus on developing its Organivore™ organic food waste digester and effluent treatment systems.

The company also announced it is actively seeking to leverage the company’s approximately $3M working capital and 2.5M shares of Palladium One Mining Inc. to review potential value-enhancing strategic acquisitions.

BIOREM Announces Joint Venture in China

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BIOREM Inc. (TSXV: BRM), an Ontario-based clean technology company focused on air emissions control, recently announced that it has entered into a joint venture with a Chinese company to establish Zhongjia Clean Technology (Wuhu) Co., Ltd in China.  The joint venture is another phase in BIOREM’s growth and development strategy for the country.

“We are pleased to take this next step in developing the Chinese market for our innovative brand of air emission abatement solutions.” said Derek S. Webb, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We pride ourselves in the speed and quality of our response to customer needs, and Zhongjia will provide the ideal vehicle to replicate that level of service to our important customers in China.”

The initial focus of the joint venture company will be to sell and service customers in need of air abatement services.  The company will provide a wide range of physical, chemical, thermal and biological solutions in China’s industrial heartland.

“While Zhongjia will provide greater coverage for BIOREM’s sales efforts in China,” continued Webb, “this Joint Venture is part of a wider effort for economic cooperation in the areas of technology transfer and cleantech innovation development between Canada and China.”

About BIOREM Inc.
BIOREM is a leading clean technology company that designs, manufactures and distributes a comprehensive line of high-efficiency air emissions control systems used to eliminate odors, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). The company has more than 1500 installed systems worldwide. Additional information on BIOREM is available on our website at www.biorem.biz.

GFL and American Waste Announce Merger

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GFL Environmental Inc. , headquartered in Vaughan, Ontario, and American Waste recently announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition by GFL of American Waste’s solid and liquid waste businesses in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in February 2020.

GFL says in U.S. regulatory filings that the deal includes US$360 million in cash plus US$20 million in non-voting shares.

Founded in 1971 as Northern A -1, American Waste and Northern A-1 is a vertically integrated provider of environmental solutions for a broad base of solid and liquid waste customers. The current owners of American Waste, Michael and Edward Ascione, will be joining GFL and will continue to manage the American Waste businesses.

In a news release, Eddie Ascione stated; “Mike and I carefully chose to merge with GFL because of our similar lines of business, GFL’s down to earth senior management team and decentralized operations approach. We believe American and Northern A-1’s expertise in serving both our solid and liquid waste customers is a great fit with GFL’s focus on delivering comprehensive environmental solutions.”

American Waste is one of several acquisitions GFL has made in recent months, including County Waste of Virginia, AGI Group of Companies, and the Soil Safe group of companies.

Fun with Waste: Salvaging at the Dump Movie

A feature-length film on the landfill scavenging practices of Yellowknife, Northwest Territory residents was recently released. The documentary, called Salvage, profiles the residents picking through the trash at the landfill over a six-year period.

The film maker, Amy Elliott chose Yellowknife for her documentary because it was too difficult to find a landfill that allowed public scavenging in the United States.

“Everything’s closed because of liability,” Elliott told the CBC in an interview. “This was by far and away the largest dump that was open to the public for salvaging, so it was my only option.”

Salvage, her feature-length documentary, premiered last March at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music and film festival in Austin, Texas. It is also slated for about 10 more film festivals in the next several months.

The documentary celebrates scavenging and the people who do it, painting them as individuals that see the value in goods that others had no use for.

The City of Yellowknife, those starring in the documentary, and many residents are happy with the film. “Salvage brings to light the complexities and relevance of waste management in a fun, intimate and honest way,” said Chris Vaughn, who manages the solid waste facility, in an email to the CBC. “It showcases what the city has always known about its residents; that we are a group of resourceful and eclectic northerners that believe in the golden rule of making the best, and the most, of what we have.”

The documentary is not yet available to stream online, though it should be by spring. 

TerraCycle partners with Niagara company to recycle health and beauty products

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TerraCycle, a recycling company that focuses on typically non-recyclable waste, has partnered with a Wellness and Lifestyle boutique in St. Catharines, Ontario to collect and recycle health and beauty-related products.

Garden City Essentials, a beauty and holistic lifestyle boutique, is collecting packaging from health and beauty-related products to be recycled through TerraCycle.

The founder the Garden City Essentials, Jolene Antle, in an interview with Niagara This Week, said, “I feel like there’s an evolution that has to happen where people become more mindful of what they’re using, what they’re purchasing and I just really want to support that in my business. If I’m going to sell products, I also want to be a place where people can take things that aren’t recyclable.”

The boutique has four Zero Waste Boxes in the front window of the shop — one a free, Gillette-sponsored box collecting razor blades (of any brand), the other three she is paying for out of pocket to collect the remnants of products related to oral hygiene, beauty, personal care and cosmetics.

Terracycle collects the boxes and recycles them into new products.  The company has several lines of recycled merchandise is sells including flooring and carpeting, building materials, coatings and adhesives, cleaning and purification supplies, and home & garden goods.

Tire-Derived Fuels Making Inroads in Canada

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Written by Jonathan D. Cocker, Baker McKenzie

Following some recent key milestones for the tire-derived fuels industries, it appears that TDF is now positioned for significant growth across Canada in the coming years.  It hasn’t been easy in light of long-standing environmental concerns and pressures for circular economy solutions for end-of-life tires but TDF may well be poised to gain ready acceptance as part of Canada’s resource recovery strategy.

Nova Scotia Legal Challenge Unsuccessful

The watershed moment for TDF in Canada arguably came in 2018.  The Province of Nova Scotia first approved TDF as a supplemental energy source for a cement plant facility in Brookfield, Nova Scotia in 2017 on a 12-month pilot project basis.

In so doing, the ministry relied, in part, on a detailed environment study conducted for the proponent by Dalhousie University which compared the greenhouse gas emissions from TDF-supplemented fuels favourably against existing the coal sources.  The report was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada, giving it further clout.

Local residents challenged the ministry’s approval on environmental and procedural grounds – both of which were rejected in a March 2018 decision.  This allowed the proponent to commission the pilot project by August 2019, with a daily consumption rate of 20 metric tonnes of whole tires.

Brookfield Emissions Results Likely Critical to Industry Aspirations

The last hurdle to a full scale commercial TDF-fuel additive kiln at Brookfield will, of course, be the resulting emissions, concerns about which have long-plagued the industry.  Both the proponent and an independent group from Dalhousie will be collecting and reporting on a wide range of emissions data to the ministry, with a first planned public release of certain emissions information set for early in 2020.

It is difficult to overstate the importance that these results will have on the TDF industry across Canada.  There remains substantial opposition to TDF-usage in any application, including cement, and a failure to meet the emissions conditions for the pilot project approval will likely mean a further moratorium on project development, further placing the TDF industry behind other resource recovery technologies and processes.

Ontario Permits Waste Rubber Fuel Source in 2019

The battleground over TDF is far from new in Ontario.  In 2011, a group of community interests, including none other than Gord Downie, successfully opposed the use of TDF at a cement production facility in Bath, Ontario.  The proponent subsequently revised its alternate fuel sourcing plans to include two low carbon fuel categories (LCFs), which have since been subject to emissions testing for a number of years.

Of these categories, “LCF 3” includes:

“Non-recyclable rubber, rubber recycling by-products (including polyester/nylon fibre from tire recycling facilities) and non-recyclable plastics.”

An amended environmental approval was granted to the proponent in August 2019 to augment the alternative feedstock to include the principal LCF 3 materials, thereby allowing rubber waste material (with its superb BTU values) to be included with lower carbon and less energy-rich materials, including various biomass sources.  A graduated approach, which does not preclude moving to TDF as the market conditions evolve.

TDF Established Practice Elsewhere

It is also worth noting that the current disputes over TDF come against a backdrop of established TDF usage in heavy industry elsewhere, including in the cement industries of the United States and Europe.

Further, the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia have long permitted TDF in cement production facilities, though none has been approved recently (in the circular economy era).  Finally, there are other materials whose fuel usage is also contentious, such as roofing shingles, telephone poles, used oils and plastics, which have also been approved for cement production in Canada.  TDF does not, in fact, have a unique environmental legacy.

TDF may remain a lightning rod for industries such as cement production, but recent developments suggest that rapid expansion of TDF usage may be near, particularly following a successful pilot project.  It may also be that the coming regulated circular economy regimes across Canada will, ironically, contribute to TDF growth with privatized and non-prescriptive EPR obligations that may allow producers to economically benefit from TDF resource recovery.

This article has been republished with the permission of the author. It was first published on the Baker McKenzie Environmental Law Insights website.


About the Author

Jonathan D. Cocker heads Baker McKenzie’s Environmental Practice Group in Canada and is an active member of the firm’s Global Consumer Goods & Retail and Energy, Mining and Infrastructure groups. Mr. Cocker provides advice and representation to multinational companies on a variety of environmental and product compliance matters, including extended producer responsibilities, dangerous goods transportation, GHS, regulated wastes, consumer product and food safety, and contaminated lands matters. He assisted in the founding of one of North America’s first Circular Economy Producer Responsibility Organizations and provides advice and representation to a number of domestic and international industry groups in respect of resource recovery obligations. Mr. Cocker was recently appointed the first Sustainability Officer of the International Bar Association.

City of Saskatoon planning landfill expansion

The City of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is moving ahead with plans for an expansion of its existing landfill. City Council recently approved plans for expansion estimated at $31.3 million.

With the capacity of the existing landfill space, Council decided on the expansion. With the expansion, combined with planned waste diversion activities, the landfill could last another 50 years.

Besides landfill expansion, the monies will be used in the development of recycling area called Recovery Park. The Park will include new weigh scales, a space for recycling construction and demolition waste, a household hazardous waste collection depot, composting, recycling and a gently used item exchange.

In 2016, The City of Saskatoon worked with a consultant to characterize the composition of waste actually going to landfills. The resulting study found that the Saskatoon’s landfilled waste streams were made up largely of materials that should be diverted away from landfills. Overall, 17% of the waste headed for landfills was recyclable, and 32% was food and yard waste that could be composted or handled in some other appropriate way. Thus, approximately half the waste going to landfills could be diverted.  This amount is in addition to the 23 percent that is already being diverted. Saskatoon City Council has set a target of 70% waste diversion by 2023.  

Ontario: Fines issued to anaerobic digester companies related to odour complaints

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MOECP) continues to actively prosecute anaerobic digester companies for odour issues. The Environment Ministry recently issued news releases detailing the latest convictions.

Kirchmeier Renergy Inc.

In one of the latest environmental convictions related to odour issues, Kirchmeier Renergy Inc., located in St. Isidore, was found guilty of providing false information on Environment Ministry inspectors during an investigation to odour complaints. The company was fined $25,000 for the violation plus a victim surcharge of $6,250.

The conviction stems from an incident in the summer of 2017 in which Ontario Environment Ministry staff visited the Kirchmeier Renergy anaerobic digester facility to investigate several odour complaints. During the course of the investigation, the company provided information on the liquid waste it received as feedstock that contradicted information the Ministry received from suppliers of the liquid waste.

The Kirchmeier Renergy facility is an on-farm anaerobic digester located near the Village of St. Isadore, approximately 75 km east of Ottawa. The facility generates electricity under Ontario’s feed-in-tariff renewable energy program. The digester processes 10,000 m3 of waste per year including manure from 150 cattle on the farm.

Stormfisher Environmental Ltd.

In another recent odour-related conviction, Stormfisher Environmental Ltd., located in London, was convicted of permitting a discharge of odour in the natural environment that was likely to cause an adverse effect and for failing to comply with its Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) when it kept it facility doors open.

Stormfisher was convicted of two violations under the Environmental Protection Act and was fined $50,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $12,500.  As part of the resolution, Stormfisher has agreed to contribute between $120,000 and $150,000 towards the cost of establishing an air monitoring program in south London.

The conviction stems from an Environment Ministry investigation in the summer of 2016 after it received several odour complaints. During the course of the investigation, inspectors noted that the doors to the feedstock reception hall were left open for 12 minutes without any truck activity and gauged the odours intensity at an 8 out of 10.

Stormfisher owns and operates that anaerobic digester and processes green bin waste from a number of southern Ontario municipalities. The biogas produced from the process used to generate 2.85 MW of electricity under Ontario’s feed-in-tariff renewable energy program.

Since 2016, Stormfisher has made a number of upgrades to odour control and management its facility. Odours are measured at the facility using a state-of-the-art electronic nose developed at the University of Montreal and commercialized by Odotech. The e-nose can measure odour units at the facility and predict the downgradient odour concentrations in real-time.

Stormfisher has also upgraded its odour treatment capabilities and utilizes state-of-the-art odour treatment technology provided by BIOREM Inc. The BIOREM Inc. odour control system is a sophisticated biological treatment system for odours.

Li-Cycle Ships First Commercial Load of Recycled Battery Material to Customer

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Li-Cycle Corp., a Ontario-based based lithium-ion battery recovery company, recently announced the maiden shipment of commercial product, containing energy metals concentrate, has been made to a customer.

Li-Cycle’s First Commercial Shipment

The shipped product comprised of cobalt, nickel and lithium recovered from lithium-ion batteries and was produced at Li-Cycle’s processing facility in Ontario, Canada.

“The first shipment of commercial product marks a significant milestone for Li-Cycle, on the Company‘s path to becoming a premier resource recovery company and processor, handling all types of lithium-ion batteries from a broad set of customers and applications,” commented Ajay Kochhar, President and CEO of Li-Cycle. “As we grow our business, we look forward to continuing to provide sustainable and technologically innovative solutions to solve our global customers’ end-of-life lithium-ion battery challenges.”

Li-Cycle Technology uses a combination of mechanical size reduction and hydro-metallurgical resource recovery specifically designed for lithium-ion battery recycling. The technology can do so with a recovery rate of 80 to 100% of all materials.

Li-Cycle’s core business model is to build, own, and operate lithium-ion battery recycling plants tailored to regional needs.