CleanFarms sets up plastic recycling pilot for Alberta Farms

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The Agricultural Plastics Recycling Group (APRG) through Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) are moving ahead with their three-year pilot to collect plastic twine and grain bags from Alberta farmers.  The program is being run by CleanFarms, a Canadian non-profit industry stewardship organization committed to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural packaging and product waste.

Funding for the program is coming from the Alberta government and the administered by the Alberta Beef Producers are responsible for administering it.

Under the pilot program, farmers can drop off plastic at 20 collection sites around the province. Details on collection sites are online at the Collection Sites page at cleanfarms.ca.

Cleanfarms, who is responsible for running the Alberta pilot program, also runs grain bag recycling programs in Saskatchewan, and empty container recycling in Manitoba and Quebec.

Grain bags and twine represent 50% of all plastics generated on-farm in Alberta. The other 50% of plastics not included in the pilot collection are bale wrap and silage plastic, netting, supersacks, greenhouse film and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers.

Currently, there are two facilities in North America recycling grain bags; one in Canada and one in the USA. Current markets are washing and pelletizing grain bags for use in other blow-molding applications. More infrastructure is currently being built in Western Canada.

With respect to twine recycling, there are two recycling facilities in the United States. One recycler is washing and pelletizing for re-manufacture and the other is cleaning and shredding for use in the roofing industry.

Saskatoon’s considering Recycling and Organics programs for IC&I Sector

The City of Saskatoon, is considering options for requirements for recycling and organics for the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (IC&I) sector. At present, the Administration is recommending that the IC&I sector be required to have separate containers for garbage and recycling and, if food or yard waste is generated as part of operations, a separate container for organics. Implementing this approach will involve an amendment to the City’s Waste Bylaw.

“A more comprehensive organics and recycling program is critical to achieving our waste diversion goals and extending the life of our landfill,” says Jeanna South, Director of Sustainability. “This cannot fall only on residents; Saskatoon businesses and organizations must participate when it comes to waste diversion and environmental leadership.”

The IC&I sector generates 68% of all garbage sent to Saskatoon and area landfills, with approximately 45% (75,800 tonnes) representing recyclables or organics that could be diverted.

“24% of what is landfilled by the City is from the IC&I sector, which represents a significant diversion opportunity that can’t be ignored,” adds South.

Option 1, being recommended by the Administration comes with the following requirements from members of the IC&I sector:

  • Separate and labelled containers for recycling and garbage
  • A separate container for organics if food or yard waste is generated as part of operations
  • Education on how to properly sort and store materials for employees and tenants
  • Ensuring removal and proper disposal of waste

To support this proposed program, the City engaged with 870 participants from businesses and organizations through workshops, online surveys, and face-to-face meetings.

The 2019 IC&I Waste and Recycling Survey and the 2019 Waste and Recycling Survey (residential) revealed high levels of support from residents, businesses and organizations for the implementation of recycling and organics requirements for the IC&I sector.  Saskatoon’s diversion rate is one of the lowest in Canada when benchmarked against other Canadian cities.

“The recommended option comes at a lower cost than the others, and has been successfully implemented in other municipalities,” says South. “It will give us the best chance of meeting residents’ expectations of the ICI sector and achieving our waste diversion goals.”

Option 1 was the most preferred mandatory approach by stakeholders. The Waste Diversion Options Fact Sheet provides a more detailed comparison of the options presented.

Record Investments in Start-ups focused on waste packaging reduction

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According to an article in CrunchBase, there has been a record investment in cleantech start-ups focused on waste packaging reduction.

According to CrunchBase data, there are at least seven companies over the past three years that have raised over $20 million (U.S.) in capital that are in that are focused on sustainable packaging.

The eco-packaging start-up that has raised the most capital, Zume, originally started out as robot-enabled pizza prep and delivery business before pivoting to sustainable packaging after acquiring a company called Pivot Package. The company is focused on reducing the amount of food that is wasted by attempting to balance the supply and demand for food. Zume uses real-time food consumption data and predictive analytics to help food companies better predict demand, connect it with production and drive better resource decisions down the food supply chain.

One of the seven start-ups noted in the database is Ontario-based GreenMantra Technologies, a company that produces value-added synthetic waxes, polymer additives, and other chemicals from recycled plastic. GreenMantra claims that it is the first company in the world to up-cycle post-consumer and post-industrial recycled plastics into synthetic polymers and additives that meet specific performance requirements for industrial applications.

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.

New York Enacts Legislation Requiring Paint Manufacturers to Establish a Program for Collection and Recycling of Unused Consumer Paint

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Written by Aaron Goldberg and Sarah Kettenmann , Beveridge & Diamond PC

New Yorkers will soon have a convenient way to ensure that their unwanted and unused paints are properly recycled. On December 16, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Postconsumer Paint Collection Program, a law that requires paint producers to collect, transport, reuse, recycle, and properly dispose of postconsumer paint in an environmentally sound manner. It applies to “architectural paint,” or “interior and exterior architectural coatings sold in containers of five gallons or less.” Architectural paint does not include industrial, original equipment or specialty coatings.

The law requires paint producers (either individually or collectively, for example through a non-profit organization) to register with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYDEC”) by July 1, 2020, and pay a registration fee. As part of the registration process, each producer or collective organization must submit its plan to comply with the new law, including its paint acceptance program, treatment, storage, transportation and disposal plan, and a list of locations within New York where consumers may drop off unused paint (which may include some municipal waste collection facilities, retail stores, and other facilities). 

Within 6 months after NYDEC approves the plan (or by January 1, 2021, if that comes later), the producers or collective organization must begin to implement their plans for collection and recycling/reuse/disposal of unused consumer paint. Paint manufacturers must also provide educational materials to help raise consumer awareness of the unused paint collection program.

The program will be financed by a new fee added to the price of architectural paint sold to retailers and distributors in the state (which may be passed on to consumers). The collection sites identified in the plan of the producers or collective organization are prohibited from charging for receipt of the postconsumer paints.  

Other states have already enacted similar paint stewardship programs, with help from the American Coatings Association and the Product Stewardship Institute.

This law is yet another step forward for New York’s growing Product Stewardship Initiative to address the health, safety, environmental, and social impacts of products and their packaging throughout all lifecycle stages. The State has adopted mandatory product stewardship requirements for managing several categories of products at their end of life, including electronics, rechargeable batteries, and mercury thermostats.  It has more limited programs for other end-of-life products, including beverage containers, cell phones, plastic bags, lead acid batteries, and waste tires.

This are was republished with the permission of the authors. It was first published on the Beveridge & Diamond website.


Aaron Goldberg applies his encyclopedic knowledge of hazardous waste regulatory law to help companies comply under federal and state laws—throughout all 50 states—and abroad. He holds an advanced degree in chemistry, has extensive training in economics, and is a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency consultant. His unique, multidisciplinary background—law, science, economics, and government—informs nearly every aspect of his work and makes him a useful bridge between attorneys, engineers, business managers, consultants, and regulators.

Sarah Kettenmann uses her knowledge of environmental law and the physical sciences to help clients solve complex problems in a conservation-minded manner. She maintains a diverse environmental practice, which includes litigation matters involving toxic torts and products liability and class action litigation concerning environmental and regulatory claims. Her regulatory practice includes advising clients on compliance with, and enforcement of, land use restrictions and remediation, and due diligence for waste facility permits under federal and state statutes. She also counsels clients on procedural and substantive aspects of permitting and environmental impact review, and related strategic planning for project development.

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.

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.