Canada’s Single-Use Plastics Law May Restrict Biodegradable Plastics

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Written by Jonathan D. CockerBaker McKenzie

Some might have wondered what the purpose might be for this joint assessment from Environment and Climate Change Canada and Health Canada:  Draft Science Assessment of Plastic Pollution, January 2020After all, the federal government and the provinces have already entered into an agreement through the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment to create a regulated circular economy for plastics in the name of environmental harm reduction.

In fact, a single-use plastics law was promised by the federal government in June 2019 (and reaffirmed in January 2020), with a likely effective date coincident with the implementation of the European Union Single-Use Plastics (SUP) Directive.  It’s a virtual article of faith in Canada that some plastic pollution is adversely impacting the environment – so what does the Draft Assessment tell us about the scope of the promised Canadian single-use plastics law that we don’t already know?

The Rise of Alternative Plastics…

Since the plastic pollution crisis of 2018, there has been a sudden rush of new end-of-life labels and certifications applied to common products, including those very same products targeted by the EU SUP Directive.  Initially, many of the promoted environmental claims were pulled from pre-crisis times, and were disseminated broadly even though they were neither verified nor verifiable.  “Bioplastic” was one such label – which did not necessarily perform any better environmentally than its petroleum-based cousin but arguably benefitted from commonly held beliefs as to its environmental superiority.

Many industries were compelled to respond to public skepticism and attributes such as “Compostable” and “Biodegradable” have become increasingly standardized, with biodegradable / compostable certifications available under international standards such as ASTM.  The growth of these alternative plastics for many common items has been meteoric, attracting long-term capital investment and seemingly setting new industry standards for years to come.

…and Their Coming Fall?

But wait – the landscape in Canada may have just shifted again… The Draft Assessment seems to signal that the plastic product, and not its composition, will be the focus of single-use plastics restrictions (and of those other laws to follow).  Scant attention is paid to alternative plastics in the Draft Assessment, which draws little distinction between conventional plastics and these newer offerings.  To the extent alternative plastics assessments were specifically considered, the Draft Assessment suggests little differentiation in the coming law will be made:

Although biodegradable plastics and bioplastics are increasingly being used as alternatives to conventional plastics, they may not degrade more readily than conventional plastics once in the environment.

In contrast, the Draft Assessment fundamentally divides plastics between macroplastics (greater than 5mm) and microplastics (5mm or less and inclusive of nanoplastics).  The near silence on alternative plastics may be deafening for the multitude of industries with substantial (and recent) investment in the viability of these alternatives.

Some Reason for Optimism

The Draft Assessment does seem to contemplate, within the range of alternative plastics, a need to “differentiate degradation pathways under different conditions” to recognize where alternative plastics may deliver preferable environmental performance:

  • for instance, some biodegradable variants are accepted as biodegradable in industrial composting facilities, but will not biodegrade under natural conditions;
  • Bioplastics may bepreferable to conventional plastic feedstock in decarbonization efforts or in providing demand for residual biomass that exists in integrated agriculture and forestry sectors;
  • There is insufficient evidence as to whether oxo-degradable plastics have accelerated degradation (it remains an open question); and
  • At least one biodegradable plastic was found to have largely degraded chemically and morphologically in sea water over a 180 day period.

In short, there wasn’t substantial evidence to support alternative plastics’ environmental value, but, for the most part, nor was there sufficient proof of the opposite.  An informational gap exists in this area.

More to Be Said on Alternative Plastic Before the Law?

As the Draft Assessment opens the door to a 60-day consultation period ending April 1st, 2020, there remains a window of opportunity for all industries engaged in the production, sourcing or sale of alternative plastics to provide input, technical and policy-driven, to preserve a space for environmentally beneficial alternatives to conventional plastics in Canada.

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The coming Canadian single-use plastics law is just the first initiative in a broader legislative program on plastics eventually regulating all plastic products, containers and packaging.  The time is now for Canadian industry to supply missing information on alternative plastics before long-term decisions about their role in the economy are made.

Republished with the permission of the author. This article was first published on the Baker McKenzie 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.

Quebec Government rescues Private Company on the cusp of closing four MRFs

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In late January, a private company the runs four recycling centres across the Province of Quebec had threatened to shut down its operations. The company, Rebuts Solides Canadiens (RSC), which is owned by French company Tiru, issued a letter to the City of Montreal stating that it has been steadily losing revenue since October 2019 due to the global paper-recycling crisis and that it could not continue operations much longer.

In the letter to the City of Montreal, RSC stated that it needed more money or will be forced to close. In response, the City of Montreal stated that it had bailed out the company before but can’t afford to pay again.

“The sale of paper constituted a major part of Groupe RSC’s revenue. This drastic shift in the world market of recycled paper was already a considerable expense for Groupe RSC, despite the efforts from some municipalities and public aid,” RSC’s letter read. 

In response, Quebec’s Environment Minister, Benoit Charette stated he wants to prevent recyclable material from going to landfill “at all costs.” The Government of Quebec backed up his words by announcing that it was loaning RSC $7 million to keep its operations open.

In return for the loan, the Quebec government obtained guarantees worth $8 million on the company’s assets. The Quebec Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change) assumes a $5 million share of the loan while Recyc-Québec will assume a $2 million loan.

Cost-Revenue Drivers for MRFs

One driver for the recycling woes of Groupe RSC is the ban China instituted in 2018 on several types of recyclables. The Chinese ban caused a shift in the world market for recycled and recuperated goods, causing a waste crisis in dozens of cities around North America. 

A second driver for the current recycling crisis in Montreal is the city’s sing-stream recycling process. With single-stream recycling, all materials are collected together and all the sorting happens at the Material Recycling Facility (MRF). Although single-stream is easier on residents and results in higher participation rates, it is more costly to run and leads to higher contamination rates at the MRF.

New B.C. Program aims to keep organic waste from landfill

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The Government of British Columbia recently announced that it is partnering with the federal and local governments on the new Organics Infrastructure Program. The $30-million program will help communities expand their infrastructure, diverting organic waste away from landfills. It will also help the Province meet its CleanBC commitment to help communities achieve 95% organic waste diversion for agricultural, industrial and municipal waste.

Organic waste currently represents 40% of material sent to municipal landfills in B.C. and generates 7.5% of the province’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In total, the projects are expected to reduce nearly 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the next decade. This is like removingmore than 100,000 cars from the roads for a year.

The Organics Infrastructure Program combines $10 million in federal funding from the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, $10 million from the Province, and $10 million in matching funds from local government applicants and their partners. Among the projects are two from the Central Kootenay Regional District — Central landfill composting facility and the Creston landfill composting facility — that, together, provide the region with food-waste processing capacity for the first time. Another recipient is the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality’s worm composting facility. It will divert organic waste from Fort Nelson’s landfill and create high-quality soil.

“This program will help communities, the Province and Canada meet our shared climate action goals,” said George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “It will also help build B.C.’s clean economy by creating green jobs and setting the stage for the economic opportunities that come from the reuse of organic materials.” 

“Investing in better infrastructure for waste management will divert organic waste from municipal landfills and turn it into clean and useful compost,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “Initiatives such as this one are key to fighting climate change and helping us reach net-zero emissions by 2050. I congratulate the Province of British Columbia for its leadership in this effort.”

Twelve projects have finalized agreements to date. Additional projects are expected to come on board in the coming months. The initial projects are expected to break ground starting in the spring.

Organics Program Receipiants

The 12 projects in 10 B.C. that are to receive funding are listed below. Additional projects are expected to be approved in the coming months. The dollar values below represent the provincial funding portion only. The money will be distributed over three fiscal years to support project planning, design and construction.

Central Coast

  • Central Coast organics compost diversion initiative (Phase 1): $49,092
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 950
  • This project, led by the Central Coast Regional District, is the first phase of a composting facility that will allow Bella Coola to divert organic waste from its landfill for the first time and enhance services to the Nuxalk Nation.

Central Kootenay

  • Central landfill composting facility: $776,053
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 68,873
  • Creston landfill composting facility: $ 485,745
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 15,890
  • Two complementary projects, led by the Regional District of Central Kootenay, will provide processing capacity for food waste for the first time in the regional district. These projects represent strong partnerships within and outside the regional district as one of the facilities will also service part of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

Columbia Shuswap

  • Revelstoke composting facility: $100,000
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 61,465
  • This project, led by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, will allow residents and businesses from the City of Revelstoke and Electoral Area B to divert food waste from the landfill for the first time. Over half the waste entering the Revelstoke landfill is organic. This project will create a usable compost product, prolong the existing landfill life and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Comox Valley

  • Regional organic composting facility additional capacity: $484,815
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 37,489
  • This project, led by theComox Valley Regional District, means the communities of Campbell River, Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland will be able to compost an extra 1,625 tonnes of food waste per year, supporting the regional district’s waste diversion target of 70% by 2022.

East Kootenay

  • There are three projects being funded in the Regional District of East Kootenay that work together to support a regional system. These projects are in the Columbia Valley, Elk Valley and central subregions, providing coverage throughout the region.
  • East Kootenay regionally integrated resource recovery network: Columbia Valley site: $333,160
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 25,442
  • East Kootenay regionally integrated resource recovery network: central sub-region site: $333,160
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 13,539
  • East Kootenay regionally integrated resource recovery network: Elk Valley site: $333,160
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 42,563

Kootenay Boundary

  • Regional District of Kootenay Boundary organics diversion expansion project: $1,182,006
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 2,873
  • This project will expand the regional district’s organics processing capacity to include food-waste materials from the industrial, commercial and institutional sector throughout the Boundary region and initiate food-waste collection for residents of Greenwood. This expanded facility will primarily process food waste, wood, yard and garden waste from the City of Grand Forks.

Northern Rockies

  • Northern Rockies vermicomposting(worm) facility: $222,546
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 2,273
  • This project will divert organic waste from Fort Nelson’s landfill through a vermicomposting facility; red wiggler worms work with fungi, bacteria and other invertebrates to transform organic matter into “castings,” which can be used in municipal landscaping or residential gardening.

Okanagan-Similkameen

  • Oliver landfill residential food waste compost facility: $400,000
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 4,014
  • This project, led by the regional district, provides the Oliver and Osoyoos landfill service areas with a new composting facility that will process residential food waste, agricultural waste and yard waste. This project is part of a larger regional strategy to manage organic wastes in the regional district. 

Summerland

  • Summerland organics processing facility: $790,500
  • Projected GHG reductions (tCO2e): 24,548
  • The District of Summerland will benefit from the relocated organics processing site as the move will increase capacity, upgrade operational and environmental technology and create high-quality Class A compost streams. The project will divert additional organic waste, preventing it from being landfilled and, therefore, reduce greenhouse gases, while prolonging the existing landfill life.

Ontario Waste Processing Firm fined increased to $170,000 following appeal

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An Ontario Court recently granted the Crown’s appeal of the sentence that had been imposed in 2018 after a guilty plea by Quantex Technologies Inc., and increased the fine from $140,000 to $170,000, plus victim fine surcharge.

Quantex Technologies Inc., based in Kitchener, plead guilty and was convicted in Ontario Court in 2018 for violations related to permitting waste to pass from its control without accurately completing a manifest, for transferring waste subject to land disposal restrictions without giving notice to the receiver, and for permitting the emission of an air contaminant to an extent that it may cause personal discomfort.

Quantex Technologies Inc. is a firm that specializes in the field of hazardous waste management, including re-refining of fuels and International slop oil recovery.

In its 2018 ruling, the Ontario Court convicted Quantex of three violations and fined the a total of $140,000 plus a victim fine surcharge of $35,000 with 2 years to pay.  The court also issued a probation order requiring the company to retain an independent auditor to conduct an embedded audit of some of the company’s waste management practices.

In December 2018, when the Court-oredered embedded audit was to begin, Quantex advised the Crown that it had sold the facility.  It subsequently became apparent that the company had sold the facility prior to being sentenced in June 2018 and that Quantex had provided inaccurate information to the sentencing court.  Therefore, the earlier sentencing had been conducted on the basis of inaccurate information.  

As a result, the Crown appealed the sentence.  The appeal was resolved on consent when the appeal court varied the sentence to increase the fine from $140,000 to $170,000. The $30,000 fine increase reflected the anticipated cost of the embedded audit. The victim fine surcharge also increased from $35,000 to $42,500. The sentencing court also vacated the Order requirement that the company conduct the embedded audit.

At the time of the violations, Quantex Technologies Inc. operated a hazardous and liquid industrial waste transferring/processing site in Kitchener under ministry approval.

Summary of the Violations

The first violation relates to incidents that occurred between November 2015 and January 2016. During that time, Quantex accepted hazardous wastes which were bulked together and shipped to another waste processing/transfer facility. An Ontario Environment Ministry inspection indicated that the waste manifest did not accurately reflect the waste classifications and that Quantex had not notified the receiver that some of the waste was  subject to land disposal restrictions. As a consequence, the receiving facility was not aware that some of the waste had classifications that were not approved under the company’s ministry approval.

The second violation relates to an incident in August 2016. At the time, Quantex employees were transferring liquid industrial and/or hazardous wastes from storage totes into a tanker trailer on-site, and the truck’s vacuum pump and exhaust was being discharged into the air. During the transfer period, neighbours experienced burning and irritated eyes, a chlorine-like odour and difficulty breathing. The occurrence was reported to Quantex, which ceased the operation immediately.

Past Violations

In 2016, Quantex was fined $140,000 plus a $35,000 victim surcharge for an incident that occurred in 2012 in which odour was released during the transfer of septic waste from one tanker to another. The odours resulted in neighbours complaining that it gave them headaches and made them nauseous.

Pyrowave receives $3.3 million in SDTC funding to commercialize plastics recycling technology

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Pyrowave, based in Montreal, recently received $3.3 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to commericalize its patented Plastic-to-Plastic recycling technology.

The $3.2 million awarded to Pyrowave will be used to create a dedicated Research & Development unit of three PhD engineers allowing the company to continue to innovate towards a commercial-scale system that is able to regenerate post-consumer and postindustrial plastics to their full value.

Pyrowave Technology can yield up to 95% in styrene monomer concentrate, i.e. a yield approximately 3 times higher than the other industry technologies. This performance is made possible through the Pyrowave‑developed patented microwave technology.

Pyrowave Technology

Pyrowave’s patented microwave catalytic depolymerization technology is designed for polystyrene raw materials and can process the full range of expanded polystyrene (EPS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS). The processing steps are as follows:

  1. The continuous process first prepares plastics into a mixture that removes contaminants such as labels and films as well as other impurities.
  2. The conditionned polystyrene is introduced into the reactor where it is mixed with silicon carbide particles to interact with a high energy microwave field.
  3. Microwaves heat up these particles very quickly, at very high temperatures, to break polymer chains and retrieve monomers (depolymerization).
  4. Post-consumer polystyrene is thus converted into a liquid rich in blocks – the monomers – to be purified and meet the same specifications as the virgin blocks.
  5. These purified and recycled blocks are then taken up by a manufacturer and transformed again into virgin resins, to manufacture new products.

One of the bonuses of the pyrowave technology is that it is GHG negative. Pyrowave’s technology emits three times less Greenhouse Gas Emissions to produce polystyrene from recycled material than from virgin fossil material and consumes 15 times less energy.

About Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is a foundation created by the Government of Canada to advance clean technology innovation in Canada by funding and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises developing and demonstrating clean technology solutions.

Waste incineration: Why isn’t it mainstream in North America?

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Written by Sarah Welstead, Eco Waste Solutions

Somehow, Sweden makes it cool

The other day, an old friend of mine – who doesn’t really know much about what I do here at Eco Waste, or really even what Eco Waste does – posted a link to a piece in The Independent about how Sweden has gotten so good at turning its trash into energy that it now imports other countries’ trash just to keep its own facilities going.

My friend’s comment on the link was: “This is awesome! Why aren’t we doing that here?”

Those of us in the waste-to-energy field are, of course, well aware that Sweden has long been the benchmark for successful waste incineration.

While containerized waste incineration and thermal combustion technologies have been growing and improving over the past few years, they aren’t really a new idea: The first waste-to-energy (WTE) facility in the United States opened in New York City in 1898, and technology developers have been trying commercialize gasification and pyrolysis facilities for municipal solid waste (MSW) since the 1970s.

So why would someone like my friend – who’s smart, well-educated, up-to-date on current events and with a background in the sciences – have such a gap in her knowledge of waste-to-energy, and completely unaware that environmentally-progressive countries lie Sweden have successfully left landfills behind when it comes to disposing of untreated waste?

Because the industry simply hasn’t done a good job of educating the public. And it’s time we got smarter about this.

It’s time we addressed the 3 core reasons for resistance to waste-to-energy.

Reason 1: Everyone freaks out when they hear the word ‘incineration’

Outside of the waste management industry – and sometimes within it, unfortunately – the word ‘incineration’ conjures apocalyptic images of town dumps burning out of control, or tire fires, or some guy burning his garbage in his backyard. And many people have heard of the health hazards associated with military ‘burn pits’ that have so often been the way military units deployed in remote locations have dealt with waste they can’t transport out. All of these things are, of course, bad.

But ‘incineration’ in a waste-to-energy or cleantech context is in fact a totally different thing. It’s still ‘combustion’, but it’s combustion that happens in highly-controlled environments, using super-high temperatures. Smoke and anything toxic is then filtered through hard-core scrubbers that ensure nothing dangerous gets into the air, and anything left over – inert bottom ash and more concentrated fly ash – are easy to dispose of, safely.

This isn’t vaporware; it’s not untried technology; it’s not even a shell game that doesn’t withstand scrutiny. High-temperature, advanced incineration which reduces waste by up to 90% with safe emissions has been around for years.

Reason 2: Waste-to-energy requires a long-term vision – and most politicians prefer immediacy

The primary competition for incineration-based waste-to-energy facilities in municipalities and communities when they’re considering a new waste management solution are landfills. Landfills are relatively easy to set up (though they do require proper construction), they’re familiar, and when compared with waste-to-energy facilities, they tend to cost less in the near term.

Incineration-based waste-to-energy facilities generally require a more significant up-front investment. WTE requires less land than a landfill, but does require money to build the incineration, containment and pollution-control facilities and associated technology.

For the first 10-15 years of operation, the landfill can look like the better investment: If it’s been set up correctly, and the community size stays within predicted growth levels, your landfill won’t cost a whole lot to run, manage or maintain – the ROI looks pretty good.

But at 15-20 years, landfills can start to look like a bad investment. What started as a plot of land in the middle of nowhere has now been surrounded by the city and is pulling property values down; it’s starting to near capacity so you need to find a whole new site for the garbage; and all that stuff accumulating in the ground has caused groundwater pollution problems that no one anticipated – and suddenly that ‘cheap’ solution is far more expensive than planned.

The cleantech waste-to-energy incineration facility, on the other hand, is still operating just fine. It doesn’t require more land, isn’t causing more pollution, and in fact is improving efficiency as it upgrades its technology.

Unfortunately, the people most able to effect a shift from landfills to WTE are politicians, who often control budgets and strategic initiatives for the communities in which they live. And when they need to be re-elected, they opt for choices which look better in the short-term, which means they aren’t often good at making the case for the long-term benefits of incineration-based waste-to-energy.

Reason 3: No one knows enough about garbage

While 66% of Canadians believe that protecting the environment is important, even at the risk of stifling economic growth, they, like the citizens in many other developed countries, are still generating 2.7kg of waste per capita every single day.

And far too many people still think that recycling is going to solve the problem, even though recycling only addresses a small fraction of the waste generated.

Why? Because those of us who know better – those of us in the thermal conversion industry, particularly – aren’t making the case very well. We see the media running stories that focus on community protests against a proposed waste-to-energy facility and don’t speak up to explain that ‘incineration’ doesn’t mean uncontrolled burning. We don’t invest in lobbying politicians to help them make the case for thermal conversion to their constituents. We don’t invest in marketing and PR efforts to help the public understand that modern incineration is much more environmentally sustainable than they realize. And we often resist partnering with other thermal conversion companies to drive the industry forward because we worry about getting or maintaining a competitive advantage.

So what do we do?

It’s time for those of us in the thermal conversion and waste-to-energy industries to get more vocal about what we do – and why it’s so smart. It’s time to stop assuming that no one wants to talk about garbage and start talking about how waste-to-energy is not just interesting but effective, and how it’s giving us a real opportunity to improve our communities and the planet. It’s time to stop being embarrassed by talking about our careers in ‘garbage’ and start evangelizing about cleantech.

Because when people know more, they start thinking like my Facebook friend: “This is awesome! Why aren’t we doing that here?”


About the Author

Sarah Welstead is the Marketing Director at Eco Waste Solutions, a Canadian-based company that is a leading supplier of modular thermal treatment and waste-to-energy technology. Eco Waste Solutions has more than 80 WTE installations in 18 countries.

Saskatchewan’s New Solid Waste Management Strategy

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The Government of Saskatchewan recently announced the new provincial Solid Waste Management Strategy, outlining a practical and sustainable strategy for short- and long-term waste management goals over the next 20 years.

Saskatchewan produces the second-highest amount of waste per capita in Canada at 842 kilograms of waste. Along with its federal, provincial and territorial partners, Saskatchewan has signed on to the Canada-wide aspirational goal of reducing waste generated per person by 30 per cent by 2030, and 50 per cent by 2040 from 2014 baseline levels. This means reducing waste to 589 kg/person by 2030 (30 per cent) and 421 kg/person by
2040 (50 per cent).

The majority of the waste generated in the province ends up in Saskatchewan’s 203 landfills, of which 186 are managed by municipalities and 17 are industrial/private landfills.

To move the province towards this future state, the Saskatchewan government strategy focuses on six goals:

  1. Enhance education, awareness and technical understanding of waste management best practices and the risks of improper practices across Saskatchewan.
  2. Encourage regional collaboration to enhance the cost effectiveness of waste management infrastructure.
  3. Provide a modern, efficient and effective regulatory system for waste disposal and management.
  4. Enhance waste diversion across Saskatchewan.
  5. Foster innovative and sustainable solutions to manage waste.
  6. Demonstrate government leadership in waste management.

To achieve the waste reduction targets, the government has made a number of specific targets under each of the six goals. For example, one specific commitment is to work with the federal government through the Investing in Canada Plan to close and decommission unsustainable landfills or enhance existing municipal or regional waste management
facilities. Another specific commitment is that continued support of innovation for waste management through initiatives such as the
Government of Saskatchewan Innovation Challenge.

The Solid Waste Management Strategy aligns with the Saskatchewan Growth Plan and will serve as the roadmap for waste reduction and management for the well-being of the province, its people and its future.

Other specific aspects of the strategy include the Household Hazardous Waste Regulations and Recycling Program as well as the Grain Bag Recycling Program.

Household Hazardous Waste Regulations and Recycling Program

The Government of Saskatchewan is paving the way for an important province-wide stewardship program for managing household hazardous waste (HHW). Although HHW makes up approximately one per cent of the waste stream in Saskatchewan, it poses a much higher risk of environmental impacts than other municipal waste due to its toxic nature.

In order to create a permanent, province-wide HHW program, the much-anticipated Household Hazardous Waste Product Stewardship Regulations came into effect on June 27, 2019. The regulations require manufacturers or distributors, vendors, importers, and retailers of household hazardous waste products to manage the collection and safe disposal of the products.

Once the product stewardship program has been approved by the Ministry of Environment, implementation of the program can begin to take shape.

The household hazardous waste program will be funded and operated by the industry that creates, imports or sells the products identified in the regulations, alleviating some of the costs for municipalities and taxpayers.

Grain Bag Recycling Program

The Government of Saskatchewan has approved a recycling program for agricultural plastics under The Agricultural Packaging Product Waste Stewardship Regulations. The program is the first of its kind in Canada and provides a responsible option for producers to return plastic grain bags for recycling. All sellers of grain bags are required to join an approved program.

The grain bag recycling program is operated by Cleanfarms on behalf of regulated retailers and manufacturers. Cleanfarms, an organization committed to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural waste, is currently operating 32 collection sites around the province. Continued growth of the program will expand the collection network in the years to come.

The grain bag recycling program is funded through an environmental handling fee (EHF) added to grain bags at the point of purchase.

B.C. Recycling Start-up Receives $1.68 million from SDTC

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Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) recently announced funding of fourteen cleantech and environmental projects across Canada. The total amount of funding granted to the 14 start-up companies from SDTC is $46.3 million. The funds, which must be matched by private investment, will be used for commercial development by each company.

One of the companies receiving funding is RecycleSmart Solutions based in British Columbia. The company is receiving $1.68 million from SDTC for a project to decrease the driving distance of garbage collection trucks and the amount of garbage destined for landfill sites. 

RecycleSmart manufactures and installs smart sensors in waste bins, providing details about bin contents and contamination. This information helps reduce unnecessary waste collection and allows waste management companies to reduce the amount of trash destined for the landfill.

Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, stated at a news conference to announce the funding, “Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs are tackling problems across Canada and in every sector. I have never been more positive about the future. SDTC remains committed to helping companies accelerate their clean technologies, from seed to scale-up.”

Jaclyn McPhadden, RecycleSmart CAO and Co-founder

Jaclyn McPhadden, RecycleSmart, Chief Administrative Officer stated, “The support from SDTC is an incredible opportunity to accelerate the growth of RecycleSmart by fuelling our sensor technology development program. We are honoured to receive this investment, which will increase the rate at which RecycleSmart can move from R&D to commercialization in the next two years.”

About RecycleSmart Solutions

RecycleSmart Solutions develops, and then implements, waste management programs for organizations that achieve financial, environment, and operational goals. The company uses a holistic approach that delivers guaranteed results.

RecycleSmart Solutions has a team of waste and data scientists, engineers, and program designers that develops and implements a waste management program that results in a 10% Cost Savings (minimum) commitment to a client organization.

The company then utilizes its Waste Wizard App that provides an organization with information on collection schedule, invoice details, and other information.

In one case, First Capital Realty, a developer and manager of retail-focused properties, engaged RecycleSmart Solutions to assist in the management of its waste and recycling programs in Edmonton. RecycleSmart Solutions did the following:

  • Installed sensors on all waste and recycling containers;
  • Monitored fill levels of containers on a monthly basis and reduced services when possible;
  • Managed their waste and recycling services;
  • Reduced costs by negotiating new rates with the waste haulers’ and
  • Handled issues with missed pickups/overflowing bins including site cleanups

The result of the technology and management solution resulted in 24 percent savings in operational costs for First Capital Realty at its Edmonton location.

About SDTC and the Canada Cleantech Market

Canada is number one in the G20 for clean technology innovation. In January 2019, 12 Canadian companies were recognized on the 2019 Global Cleantech 100 list. Currently, clean technology employs more than 180,000 Canadians.

The clean technology market is set to exceed $2.5 trillion by 2022.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada is an arm’s-length foundation created by the Government of Canada to support Canadian companies with the potential to become leaders as they develop and demonstrate new technologies to address some of our most pressing environmental challenges.

Waste-Co merges with E360S

Environmental 360 Solutions, Inc. (E360S) recently announced it has merged with Waste-Co Disposal Systems, headquartered in Red Deer, Alberta.

Waste-Co provides full-service solid waste disposal services to Red Deer and Central Alberta. The merger represents a strategic partnership with E360S’ existing operations in Red Deer and offers significant operational synergies. Founders, Jon and Jeremy Blocksom, will remain with the business as key operating partners facilitating integration and providing complementary management capabilities.

“I am thrilled to welcome Waste-Co’s team to the E360S family. This partnership underscores the trust of Jon and Jeremy Blocksom in the E360S platform and our vision of being Canada’s most trusted environmental management leader” said Danny Ardellini, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Environmental 360 Solutions Inc. “This merger enables E360S to grow its portfolio of high quality assets and operating partners, the Blocksom brothers have created a tremendous business and reputation throughout Central Alberta and Western Canada.”

Waste-Co’s co-founders Jon and Jeremy said “Both of us and the Waste-Co team are excited to become the local representation for the E360S brand in Central Alberta and Western Canada.  We will continue to go above and beyond delivering personalized customer service at every level possible. We look forward to contributing to the growth and future success that Danny and his team have envisioned for everyone.”

The acquisition of Waste-Co follows E360S’ synergistic tuck-in of Urban Impact’s Calgary recycling, paper shredding, and organics division into its existing Calgary operations enabling E360S to provide its customers holistic waste management solutions.

These last two transactions represent E360S’ ability to further expand market share in territories in which it currently has a presence and realize operational synergies.

About E360S Inc.

Founded in October 2018, by industry veteran Danny Ardellini, E360S is dedicated to becoming North America’s leading and most trusted environmental management company. Growing through acquisition and internal expansion, E360S provides environmental and waste management solutions to municipalities and industrial commercial and institutional customers. E360S is based in Toronto, Canada and operates throughout Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.

About Danny Ardellini

With 30 years of experience in the Canadian waste management industry, Mr. Ardellini founded National Waste Services (NWS) in January 2000. Starting with a single truck, the company grew to serving over 400,000 households in Hamilton, Toronto, Kawartha Lakes, Durham Region, and the County of Northumberland, as well as a number of industrial and commercial customers. NWS merged with GFL in 2008.

Region of Peel Proposes Curbside Textile Recycling Program

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The Region of Peel, immediately west of Toronto, has proposed a region-wide program for residential curbside pick-up of textiles for recycling.

According to Peel Public Works, more than 7,700 tonnes of textiles are thrown out in Peel every year. If the curbside collection program is implemented, Regional officials estimate that more than 1,400 tonnes of materials could be collected for re-use annually with the remainder potentially being recycled.

If approved by Peel Regional Council (made up of elected officials from Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon), used textiles such as clothing, towels, and linens would be picked up on a regular basis with the aid of a registered charity partner.

Region of Peel Textile Collection Bin

Between 2017 and 2019, the region worked with The Kidney Foundation, Talize and Diabetes Canada to collect 22 tonnes of used textiles from 21,000 homes, as part of a curbside collection pilot.

More than 100 registered charities in Canada collect, redistribute and resell textiles. Many of the charities rely on individuals donating clothing directly at the store or at a collection bin.

Charities that collect donated clothing typically offer for sale about half of what they collect. Of what is displayed for sale, only about half of that will actually sell. At the Salvation Army, clothes have four weeks to sell before they’re replaced by the next wave of donations, according to Tonny Colyn, the national donations manager in Canada for the charitable organization.

Other Municipal Initiatives

In April, 2017, the City of Markham (north of Toronto) became the first municipality in North America ban textile waste at the curb. In 2018, the City of Markham, Ontario launched a textile recycling pilot project partially funded by a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Under the pilot, the city placed over 100 bins at city facilities and multi-residential properties. The ‘smart bins’ tracked the amount of textiles being donated for data-collection purposes and also sent out signals telling the city when they need to be serviced. The textiles that were collected were sorted for resale at charities or re-purposed into industrial rags, furniture padding, insulation, car seats and recycled fabrics.

As part of the pilot program, the City of Markham prepared a brochure to educate residents about the textile recycling program and what items were acceptable in the collection bins.

Used Textile Statistics

According to the Recycling Council of Ontario, the average Canadian purchase 70 new clothing items per per. In Ontario, according to the Toronto Environmental Alliance, 85% of the 500,000 tonnes of used textiles generated per year end up in landfills.   According to a waste audit conducted in Nova Scotia, textiles accounted for 10 per cent of the residential waste stream and 11.5 per cent of the industrial stream .

Recycling Textiles

The challenge with recycling textiles is that clothing is a mixture of natural and synthetic fibers. The recycling process is different depending on the material.

For textiles made from natural materials (i.e., cotton or wool), the typical recycling process involves the following steps:

  • The incoming unwearable material is sorted by type of material and color. Color sorting results in a fabric that does not need to be re-dyed. The color sorting means no re-dying is required, saving energy and avoiding pollutants.
  • Textiles are pulled into fibers or shredded, sometimes introducing other fibers into the yarn. .
  • The yarn is cleaned and mixed through a carding process.
  • The yarn is re-spun and ready for subsequent use in weaving or knitting. 
  • Fibers can also be compressed for textile filling such as in mattresses.

If the textiles are synthetic, recycling typically involves In the case of polyester-based textiles, garments are shredded and then granulated for processing into polyester chips. These are subsequently melted and used to create new fibers for use in new polyester fabrics.