Regional District of Nanaimo new waste diversion initiatives include mattress recycling

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As reported in the Parksville Qualicum News, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is working to implement new waste management initiatives, including mattress recycling, that will help the municipality reach its goal of 90 percent waste diversion from landfill.

The new waste diversion initiatives focus on the strategies of reduce, reuse and recycle. They include zero-waste kits, compost giveaways, non-stewarded residential household hazardous waste collection and mattress recycling.

As more communities focus on banning single-use plastics and other items, there is a demand for reusable items. The RDN is introducing “ReThink Waste” branded zero-waste kits that include reusable produce bags; reusable cloth snack bags and reusable straws. The plan is to offer these as prizes and giveaways throughout the year at RDN and affiliated community events.

The Solid Waste Services Department for the RDN owns and operates the Regional Landfill, Church Road Transfer Station and provides residential garbage collection and recycling service to more than 29,000 households in the region. The RDN has made a long-term commitment to achieving Zero Waste, reducing garbage, conserving resources, reducing greenhouse gases and creating a more sustainable region.

Mattress Recycling

Mattresses have a compaction rate 400% less than regular garbage, thus making them a problem in all landfills. Recycling mattresses in other Canadian jurisdictions has had mixed success.

The mattresses collected by the RDN are recycled by Recycle Matter. Recycle Matters is an INEO Employment Services Job Creation Partnership (JCP). INEO is an organization that provides work for individuals who normally would not gain employment within the community. The JCP was also funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

As of November 8th of last year, the RDN diverted 710 mattresses from the landfill for recycling by Recycle Matters.

Recycle Matters employs three individuals (two general labourers and one business/office administrator) to work with a supervisor and the project manager to set-up a mattress recycling facility.

The company salvages parts of the mattress such as springs, foam and textiles that are shipped out to companies for re- purposing. Up to 95 percent of the mattress can be recycled.

With respect to mattresses, the RDN has a surcharge for mattresses and box springs of $15 per unit.

Fun with Waste: City of Laval uses rap music to encourage recycling

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Officials at the City of Laval have teamed up with rap collective Alaclair Ensemble in an effort to increase recycling rates in the municipality.

Alaclair, one of Quebec’s most acclaimed rap groups, were commissioned to write and perform an original song and video to inspire more citizens to recycle properly.

The group’s new song and video is called “Mets du respect dans ton bac” – roughly translated, “Put some respect in your bin.” It remains to be seen if there is a correlation between the song’s release and recycling rates in the suburb community of 422,000 north of Montreal.

According to a survey conducted by the city in 2017, more than half of the citizens put items in their recycling bin that should not be there, including plastic 6, clothing, toys, and plastic decorations.

In addition to the music video, Laval is distributing explanatory leaflets to every residence to help citizens better understand what is permitted in recycling containers.

Researchers produces biodegradable plastic from Cactus plants

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Led by Sandra Pascoe Ortiz, a chemical engineering professor at the University of the Valley of Atemajac, scientists at the Universidad del Valle de Atemajac in Guadalajara, have successfully create biodegradable plastic from the juice of the prickly pear cactus.

The researchers trim cactus leaves, and then put them into a juicer and create a bright green liquid. After it’s mixed with other natural materials and processed, it later undergoes a process that transforms the cactus juice into a biodegradable plastic.

Currently it’s being made as prototypes at Oritz’s lab and the process takes 10 days to make. Extensive research is still needed to test the efficiency and to scale up the production of the plastic alternative.

The non-toxic plastic takes one month to biodegrade in soil, and a week in water. The project was supported by a scholarship for graduate students awarded by the National Council of Science and Technology in Mexico.

The bioplastic created from the cactus juice is nontoxic if it’s eaten. “The cactus of this species contains a large amount of sugars and gums that favor the formation of the biopolymer,” says Professor Sandra Pascoe Ortiz, the lead researcher.

Dr. Pascoe Ortiz hopes the bioplastic can replace most single-use plastic products in the world. “I hope the cactus-based plastic will help reduce the impact of solid waste in Mexico and around the world,” stated Pascoe Ortiz.

Montreal’s Zero Waste Master Plan

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The City of Montreal has started public consultations on its master plan for waste disposal over the next five years. The City has a goal of being a zero waste municipality by 2030. If successful, waste diversion from landfill will be 75% by 2025 and 85% by 2030.

Zero waste is based on the idea of a circular economy, where virtually everything is reused, recycled or composted instead of being sent to landfill.

The average Canadian generates approximately one tonne of waste per year. City of Montreal officials that the zero waste goal can be achieved by each citizen actively participating in the 3R’s and a reduction of waste produced by each Montrealer by about 10 kilograms a year.

The Average Canadian generates almost one tonne per waste per year

The proposed five-year plan marks a departure from previous efforts in that it seeks to reduce consumption at the source rather than solely focusing on pick-up, transport, recycling, and disposal.

Public education is high on the list of priorities for the City if it is to achieve its ambitious zero waste goal within 10 years. Officials say they are also hoping to encourage people to question their own consumption habits by opting for greener products and ‘reducing and reusing’ before buying.

A major part of the city’s plan on reducing waste is for an expansion of compost pickup to businesses , schools and apartment buildings with six or more units (approximately 50% of municipal solid waste can be classified as organic) and banning types of plastic that are hard to recycle.

Included in Montreal’s five-year plan is for gradually prohibiting grocery stores from throwing out unsold food and banning disposal of unsold clothing by garment manufacturers and retailers.

Big Fine in California for store’s refusal to accept deposit-return bottles

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The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) recently announced a $3.6 million enforcement action against CVS Health Corp. for failing to meet its obligation to redeem Californians’ deposits on recycled bottles and cans at stores throughout the state.

The action is part of the state’s broader effort to support recycling and ensure consumers have access to convenient recycling options as the recycling industry contends with changing global market conditions. State subsidies to recyclers have increased each of the last four years to cover the declining prices for scrap recyclables, resulting in $176 million in payments to recyclers in 2018.

Under California’s beverage container recycling law, retailers located in “convenience zones” that are not served by a recycling center must redeem California Redemption Value (CRV) beverage containers in store or pay a $100 a day fee.

An investigation by CalRecycle found that 81 of the CVS Pharmacy’s 848 retail stores in California refused to redeem CRV beverage containers in store, failed to pay the required $100 a day fee for not redeeming, or failed to submit an affidavit to CalRecycle stating how they would comply with in-store redemption standards.

The enforcement action seeks to recover $1.8 million in $100-a-day fees that the 81 stores had failed to pay as of October 31 and an additional $1.8 million in $100-a-day civil penalties. The action also seeks to recover CalRecycle’s administrative costs of investigating and pursuing the action.

CalRecycle filed the enforcement action against the retail chain on Dec. 5, 2019. As part of the administrative law process, CVS is entitled to an evidentiary hearing presided over by a hearing officer or administrative law judge.

CalRecycle has increased enforcement against retailers that are obligated to redeem the recycling deposit (CRV) for beverage containers in store, resulting in an additional 2,180 inspections and prioritized enforcement on retailers with the largest number of violations and penalties owed.

Since the state’s Bottle Bill was enacted in 1986, Californians have recycled nearly 400 billion beverage containers. Last year Californians recycled 18 billion beverage containers, the second highest ever, accounting for 76 percent of the 24 billion CRV beverages sold in California. The state is on track to recycle 18 billion bottles and cans in 2019.

In Canada, all provinces, with the exception of Quebec and Manitoba, have a deposit-return system for wine bottles. The Quebec government is expected to announce deposits on wine bottles in early 2020.

A 2019 study on the costs and benefits of a deposit-return system for non-alcoholic bottles in Ontario by Reloop, produced in partnership with Eunomia Research & Consulting, found that a deposit return system (DRS) for non-alcoholic beverage containers, alongside improvements in the Blue Box program, would recycle an additional 118,000 tonnes of materials every year, as well as generating overall savings of $12 million.