Fun with Waste: Virtual Safari fundraiser for waste collection in low income countries

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WasteAid has created a Virtual Safari into the Kenyan wilderness, an immersive experience with science, culture, art, cookery and lots of wildlife to help lift spirits, and to raise money for waste collectors in low-income countries.

The safari route is around Lake Naivasha in Kenya, where WasteAid is working with local partners to improve waste collection and recycling. It says the entire 75-kilometre route is equivalent to 100,000 steps or 1,000 minutes exercise.

WasteAid is an independent, non-profit United Kingdom charity set up by waste management professionals to share practical and low-cost waste management know-how with communities in low-income countries.

Zoë Lenkiewicz, Head of Programmes and Engagement at WasteAid, said: “We wanted to create something for people to escape into and enjoy, while raising money for our urgent appeal ‘Waste Collectors Rock!’

“The communities around Lake Naivasha, especially those working with waste, are in poverty and vulnerable to disease – yet at the same time, they are surrounded by all this incredible wildlife. We thought it would be fun to support waste collectors in places like this, by sharing the beauty and wonder of the environment they work so hard to protect.”

Waste-to-Fuel Facility planned near Medicine Hat, Alberta

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Canada’s Cielo Waste Solutions Corp. (CNSX:CMC and OTCQB: CWSFF) recently announced that its joint-venture (JV) partner had found a suitable location for their facility that will be designed to convert waste into renewable fuels.

The JV partner, Renewable U Medicine Hat Inc., has secured an agreement in principle to purchase 32.4 hectares of land in Cypress County, Alberta. The land is situated within the approximately 3-kilometres from the town of Medicine Hat.

Renewable U Medicine Hat has also informed Cielo that is has funding in place to close the purchase and sale agreement, subject to numerous conditions, before or on July 1, 2020, the waste-to-fuel company said.

The planned facility will be engineered to grind multiple waste feedstocks and convert them into renewable fuels that can be blended into conventional highway transportation, marine and aviation fuels.  It is estimated that the cost to build and commission the facility will be $50 million.

Initial production output is seen at 32.7 million litres of renewable fuels per year on 65,000 tonnes/year of feedstock. The partners contemplate to keep the facility running for 341 days a year.

Cielo expects the construction phase to employ around 50 to 70 people. Once the production starts, the facility will provide some 25 full-time jobs, the company said.

About Cielo Waste Solutions Corp.

CIELO Waste Solutions Corp. is a publicly traded company with its shares listed to trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange (“CSE”) under the symbol “CMC”, as well as OTC Markets Group, on the OTCQB, under the symbol “CWSFF”.  CIELO’s technology transforms landfill garbage into renewable high-grade diesel and aviation jet fuel. CIELO’s proven and patent-pending technology is currently being deployed in the Company’s Aldersyde, Alberta Renewable Diesel Facility, where wood waste is currently being converted into renewable fuels.

Ontario Government Promulgates Regulation Suspending Environmental Bill of Rights Posting Requirements

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The Ontario Government recently announced it has made a temporary regulation to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. This regulation exempts all proposals for policies, acts, regulations and instruments from posting requirements under the EBR and removes the requirement to consider Statements of Environmental Values for the duration of the State of Emergency.

The new regulation, Temporary Exemptions Relating to Declared Emergency (O. Reg. 115/20) exempts proposals for Acts, policies, regulations and instruments Part II of the the Environmental Protection Act.  The reasoning for the new regulation given by the government is that the existing state of emergency may requires fast action to protect the health and safety of persons.

As a consequence of the new regulation, the following is in effect:

  • proposals for policy, act, regulation and instrument notices will no longer be required to be posted for 30-day comment period
  • decision-makers will no longer be required to consider their SEVs

According to the National Observer, the action by the Province of Ontario means that it is suspending environmental oversight rules.  In the view of the National Observer, the change allows the Ontario Government to push forward projects or laws that could significantly impact the environment, without consulting or notifying the public.

In an e-mailed response to the National Observer, a spokesperson for Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek, Andrew Buttigieg, said,  “This will ensure our government is able to quickly respond to time-sensitive needs that arise as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.”

The proposed regulation is temporary and will automatically terminate 30 days following the termination of the state of emergency.

 

St. Albert, Alberta envisions neighbourhood WTE’s

As reported in St. Albert Today, mayor Cathy Heron of St. Albert, Alberta sees the opportunity of partnering with developers and incorporating waste-to-energy facilities into neighbourhoods over the next five years.  Located just northeast of Edmonton with a population of 66,000, St. Albert has one of the highest rates in the province according to the Recycling Council of Alberta at nearly 65 percent.

The mayor’s vision of the future can be traced back to a Smart City Master Plan first prepared by the City in 2016 and recently updated.  The plan calls for smart approach to waste management that would include the identification of partnerships, the utilization of new technologies and innovations, better practices that better serve the community, and a reduction of the ecological footprint.  The Smart City Master Plan calls for the exploration of collaborative ecosystems and the circular economy as a way of reducing waste and developing new economic models:

  • Reduce the influx of single-use plastics and other products that are difficult to
    recycle
  • Develop new ways of dealing with waste that currently cannot be recycled
  • Examine waste-to-energy technologies
  • Ensure that hazardous waste is processed appropriately

In the view of the mayor, the household waste generated in neighbourhoods could be used to generate heat, electricity, or some other source of fuel (i.e., transportation fuel). “Once you have that energy output, you can do anything with it, right? We could heat our sidewalks with it, we could heat our homes with it … we could sell the electricity off the grid and make it a revenue generator”, the mayor stated in her interview with St. Albert Today.

Currently, municipal waste from the city is disposed of at the Rose Ridge Landfill, approximately 20-km from the city core.  Utilizing the waste as fuel within the neighbourhoods it in generated will result in a reduction in the cost of transportation along with a reduction in greenhouse gas generation.

A 2018 report funded by the Dutch government found that microgrid technologies could make a local “techno-economy” 90 percent self-sufficient, through the decentralized sharing of energy at the local level between multiple households.

Vision of a decentralized microgrid Community (Photo Credit: Metabolic)

With respect to the negative stigma associated with a waste-to-energy facility being located in the near vicinity of a residential neighbourhood, the mayor stated in St. Albert Today, ““You can disguise the (unit) on what looks like a house. Garbage would be picked up in the area and delivered right within that area to a waste-to-energy generator.”

There is already a potential private partner interested in the mayor’s idea.  Averton Homes is planning a three-phase development, which would include 800 residential units, seniors housing and commercial properties.  “We are early in those conversations, but there’s a willingness on both parts to explore it because there’s a need for us to think creatively as an industry, and I think there’s a need for the municipalities to do so as well,” said Averton president Paul Lanni in St. Albert Today.

The City is already funding $1 million towards a one-year pilot demonstration of a waste-to-energy gasification system at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre.  The total capital cost of the pilot system is estimated to be $4 million.  St. Albert is relying on partnerships and grants to cover the remaining balance.

There is skepticism that St. Albert’s smart city approach to waste management would be economical.  A white paper on waste-to-energy provided to city council in early 2019 found a gasification/pyrolysis-based system would cost $57 to $806 per tonne of waste, depending on the technology used.

 

Recycling and Organics Processing Programs suspended in Greater St. John, NB

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The Fundy Region Service Commission, which is responsible for managing the waste management for the Greater St. John area in New Brunswick, has temporarily suspended the practice of separating waste into garbage, compost and recycling at the landfill, and blue bin depots have been closed until further notice. The suspension of service is to ensure worker health & safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Although the curbside pick-up of blue bin recyclable and green bin organics will continue, all the material will be landfilled.

The Fundy Region Service Commission (the “Commission”) provide solid waste management, planning, building inspection services as well as collaboration of other services to the City of St. John, New Brunswick and surrounding municipalities.  The Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission is responsible for solid waste disposal and diversion in the Greater Saint John area, including Crane Mountain Landfill and the recycling and compost programs.

Chris Hand, Operations Supervisor at the Fundy Region Service Commission told CTV News that the reason for the suspension in the recycling and organics programs was due to worker health and safety.  Hand stated, “A lot of people don’t realize that when the recyclables come in and the compost as well, the organics, we have belts that that has to get across where there’s actually staff that has to intermingle with that waste.”

“The stories that we’re hearing, that COVID-19 can stay up to three days on porous plastics, 24 hours onto cardboard, and even with the strict PPE requirements in place with our staff, we just don’t want to take any of the chances with our staff at this time,” Harned said in the CTV News interview.

The Commission is asking residents to consider storing their compost and/or recycling for proper disposal at a later date. This will support our collective environmental responsibility and help save space at the landfill.  If it is not feasible to store the compost and/or recyclables for pick up at a later date, the Commission is still requesting residents to continue separating organics and recyclables as municipalities are charged lower rates for these streams than garbage by the Commission.  Also, it will help keep the correct routine when the pandemic ends.

 

 

 

Florida company claims breakthrough in turning waste to hydrogen fuel

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A Florida-based waste-to-fuel company, Standard Hydrogen Company Inc., recently announced that it had made a technology breakthrough and that it had a patented process that could produce inexpensive hydrogen from waste.  The company markets itself as an innovative, breakthrough company that developed and patented technology to economically split hydrogen sulfide into pure hydrogen and sulfur.

“We make pollution-free hydrogen and we clean the environment while doing it,” said Alan Mintzer, Standard Hydrogen CEO in a news release. “This innovation turns trash into clean burning fuel, but more importantly it also cleans up most forms of pollution around the world.”

Description of the Technology

The development of the technology is embodied in United States Patent 9290386B2 (Hydrogen sulfide conversion to hydrogen).  The patent describes a method of reacting hydrogen sulfide with a catalyst at a temperature up to 700 degrees Celsius.  The hydrogen sulfide is converted to sulfur and hydrogen.

In the description of its technology, the company uses plastic waste as an example.  Plastic waste, comprised mainly of hydrogen and carbon atoms, is mixed with hot sulfur.  The hydrogen in the plastic combines with the sulfur to generate hydrogen sulfide (H2S).  The hydrogen sulfide is subsequently turned into hydrogen and sulfur.  The hydrogen can be used as a fuel and the sulfur is reused in the process or sold as an industrial grade product.  The entire process is exothermic (meaning it generates heat).  The company claims its technology requires no precious metal catalysts and requires little to no maintenance.

The company claims its process is different than other ones such as the Claus process.  The Claus process is an energy-intensive process used that destroys the hydrogen sulfide, recovers the sulfur but not the hydrogen.  Standard Hydrogen claims the process is low cost and that no air emissions are generated.

Further Development

The company CEO claims that technology could easily convert organic waste streams (i.e., plastic, biomass, paper, source-separated organics, textiles) into hydrogen.  It also claims it has proven the science behind the patented technology and determined it can economically produce hydrogen from hydrogen sulfide.

The company stated it is will do more research and development through mid-2020 while seeking additional joint venture partners to complete the engineering phase of the technology roll out.  Standard Hydrogen is targeting the first quarter of 2021 to have a commercial reactor at a pilot plant.

 

 

Emterra Environmental wins waste collection contract for Oxford County, Ontario

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Recently, municipal officials from Oxford County (a rural municipal county of 111,000 in southwestern Ontario) awarded Emterra Environmental a five-year  contract for curbside garbage and recycling pickup.  The contract also includes two one-year extension options.  The value of the contract is $2.8 million a year, plus and addtional $703,000 for the processing and transfer of materials.  Other vendors that bid on the curbside collection contract were Green for Life Environmental and HGC Management Inc.

The transfer of service providers from HGC Management Inc. to Emterra Environmental is scheduled for May 4th.  Under the contract, the County will stay on its current five-day garbage pickup and recycling scheduled.

With the new contact approved, Emterra will move to purchase new fleet equipment and have a used fleet collect until September.

The change in companies also brings new collection routes to some Oxford communities.  Also, plastic film products such as plastic bags, plastic wrap or film packaging, and Styrofoam products will not longer be accepted in recycling.  Large Styrofoam drop-off will continue to be available at County recycling centres.

 

 

Business as (Un)usual in British Columbia: EMA Authorization & Compliance Requirements Remain in Effect during the Pandemic
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Written by Selina Lee Anderson and Paul R. Cassidy, McCarthy Tetrault

The BC Government has acknowledged that while the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacts on the day-to-day operations of regulated activities under the Environmental Management Act (EMA), authorization requirements remain in effect and it is expected that all reasonable measures should be taken to comply with EMA conditions. While the BC Government has not provided any guidance on what constitutes “reasonable measures”, determining what reasonable measures are will require a contextual analysis. In particular, businesses whose operations and compliance capabilities are materially challenged by the pandemic will need to engage in a risk assessment review not only to determine where the risk to the environment is the greatest from their operations, but also to provide justification in the event of non-compliance. Once a risk assessment has been completed, businesses will be in a better position to adjust the allocation of staff and other resources (if needed) for managing higher risk operational activities. Businesses with operations in BC are encouraged to maintain proper monitoring and record keeping in order to demonstrate that all reasonable measures (including appropriate mitigation measures) were taken to avoid non-compliance with EMA authorization requirements. In addition, businesses may wish to review EMA authorization requirements and develop contingency plans to ensure that their operations are maintained in compliance with permit obligations during this period of pandemic response.

If an EMA authorization holder encounters a non-compliance issue, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has asked that they provide notice to the Ministry by email at [email protected]. The authorization holder should identify the compliance issue(s), rationale and mitigative measures being taken. The Ministry has indicated that in addressing non-compliances, it will take into consideration the directives and guidance issued by the provincial Public Health Officer.

The Ministry has also advised that it currently has staffing resources in place to maintain all core business functions. All electronic mailboxes and normal communication channels remain open and are being monitored regularly. Authorization holders should contact the Ministry through all the usual channels. All meetings with the Ministry will be handled by phone or online.

To discuss options for managing your regulatory compliance obligations, or if you have questions about the impact of COVID-19 on your business generally, please contact your McCarthy Tétrault trusted advisor or one of the authors.

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About the Authors

Selina Lee Anderson is a partner in McCarthy Tetrault’s Vancouver office and a member of the firm’s Environmental, Regulatory and Aboriginal Group, Energy & Mining Group, Retail and Consumer Markets Group, Defence Initiative and Asia Group. Recognized for her in-depth knowledge and range of experience, her practice focuses primarily in the areas of environmental law, corporate/commercial law, regulatory law, compliance, and Aboriginal issues in the energy and natural resource sectors.

Paul R. Cassidy is a partner in McCarthy Tetrault’s Business Law Group in Vancouver and co-head of our National Environmental, Regulatory & Aboriginal Group. One of the most respected practitioners in the space, his deep industry business knowledge is without comparison. International investors routinely seek his advice on the regulatory environment for doing business in Canada.

 

Fun with Waste: Recycling Quizzes

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There are a number websites that have offer recycling quizzes to test your knowledge.  If you score 100% on the quizzes below, you are a true waste management professional and should be proud of yourself.

 

 

Alberta becomes the first Canadian province to modify environmental reporting rules in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

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Written by Alan Harvie and Kellie L. Johnston, Norton Rose Fulbright

On March 30 and March 31, Alberta’s minister of environment and parks passed a slew of ministerial orders (the Orders) modifying certain industrial environmental reporting requirements in Alberta. The Orders were passed pursuant to s. 52.1(2) of the Alberta Public Health Act and are further to order-in-council 080/2020 that declared a state of public health emergency in Alberta due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministerial order 15/2020

Ministerial order 15/2020 extends the deadline to submit compliance reports and emissions reduction plan reports under sections 36(8) and 36(9) of Alberta’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Regulation from March 31, 2020, to June 30, 2020. Ministerial order 15/2020 can be found here.

Ministerial order 16/2020

Ministerial order 16/2020 extends the deadline to submit reports for the 2019 compliance period under sections 10(1), 11(1) and 12(1) of Alberta’s Renewable Fuels Standard Regulation from March 31, 2020, to June 30, 2020. These new deadlines apply to fuel suppliers, approved contributors and renewable fuel providers. Ministerial order 16/2020 can be found here.

Ministerial order 17/2020

Ministerial order 17/2020 suspends all requirements to report information pursuant to provisions in approvals or registration under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and all requirements to report information pursuant to provisions in licences or approvals under the Alberta Water Act. These suspensions do not apply to reporting requirements for drinking water facilities. Ministerial order 17/2020 also suspends all disposition requirements to submit returns or reports under the Alberta Public Lands Act.

Notwithstanding these suspensions, all approval, registration, licence and disposition holders (Record Holders) are required to continue to record and retain complete information relating to any reporting or return requirements. Upon request, the Record Holders are required to make these records available to Environment and Parks, or the Alberta Energy Regulator where the records deal with energy resource activities. Ministerial order 17/2020 can be found here.

Duration

The Orders shall remain in effect, unless they are sooner continued by an order of the lieutenant governor in council under the Alberta Public Health Act, until the earliest of:

a. August 14, 2020;
b. 60 days after order-in-council 080/2020 is terminated by the lieutenant governor in council, if order-in-council 080/2020 is terminated before June 15, 2020; or
c. the termination of the Orders by the minister or the lieutenant governor in council.

Temporary amendment to select Air Monitoring Directive requirements

In addition to the Orders, on March 31, Alberta Environment and Parks also issued a temporary amendment to select Air Monitoring Directive (AMD) requirements. The amendment allows industrial operations and Alberta airsheds to deviate from select AMD monitoring, siting and reporting requirements. Effective immediately:
i. calibration of ambient analyzers and ambient station manifold and inlet cleaning is now required once every three months for the remainder of 2020;
ii. the requirement to report “calendar day” in AMD reporting forms is removed;
iii. the deadline to complete and submit the 2019 Annual Emissions Inventory Report is extended from September 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020;
iv. the requirement to immediately report exceedances of Ambient Air Quality Guidelines until August 31, 2020, is removed until September 30, 2020;
v. extending until September 30, 2020, the requirement to submit airshed monthly monitoring summary reports and ambient data is extended by two months.

More detailed information on the amendments to the AMD requirements in Alberta, and their specific application, can be found here.

As of April 2, Alberta is the only province that has suspended certain environmental reporting requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier, on March 26, the assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at the US Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its own policy to deal with environmental non-compliance in the wake of COVID-19, announcing that the agency would apply enforcement discretion for noncompliance: (i) during the period of the policy; (ii) that results from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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About the Authors

Alan Harvie has practised energy and environmental/regulatory law since 1989 and regularly deals with commercial, operational, environmental and regulatory issues, especially for the upstream and midstream oil and gas, energy, waste disposal and chemical industries. He is a member of Norton Rose Fulbright’s energy and environmental departments.

 

Kellie is a member of Norton Rose Fulbright’s global risk advisory practice. She assists clients to identify, assess and manage current and emerging risks across their global business. Her clients operate in many different sectors, including energy, infrastructure, mining and commodities, agribusiness, transport, retail, institutional investors, financial services, and life sciences.