Two Founders of Waste Management Companies on Top 10 List of Canadian Cleantech Entrepreneurs

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Luna Yu converts waste into game-changing products

According to Second Harvest, a staggering 58 percent of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted, representing 56.6 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions. Luna Yu founded her cleantech company to do something about it. Started at the University of Toronto and accelerated by the Women in Cleantech Challenge, Yu’s Genecis converts food waste into biodegradable plastics and other materials. The startup uses bacteria to break down food waste into short-chain carbons, and then another type of bacteria to eat those carbons and convert them into a polymer called PHA. Unlike other types of compostable goods (like oil-based plastic cups), Genecis’s products can be composted within a month, and degrade within a year should they end up in the ocean.

What’s next: Recently crowned the Extreme Tech Challenge’s global winner in the Cleantech and Energy Category, Genecis is scaling up by courting new clients looking to replace existing product lines. “We used the lockdown as an opportunity to reflect on what matters most and empathize with customers,” says Yu. “I’m really proud of how our team excelled in this period of change.”

Brandon Moffatt transforms trash into energy

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has been taken quite literally by London, Ont.–based StormFisher. Started in 2006 by three founders — Brandon Moffatt, Chris Guillon and Pearce Fallis — StormFisher’s biogas facility now converts more than 100,000 tonnes of organic waste each year into renewable energy, organic fertilizers and feedstock. With a focus on sustainable organics and power-to-gas projects, the company has started on several large-scale developments in Canada and the U.S. They use surplus renewable electricity at off-peak hours and produce low-carbon fuels for natural gas utilities and large corporations that are seeking to lower their carbon intensities or are in pursuit of carbon neutrality.

What’s next: “We are focused on the development of low-carbon energy infrastructure to produce various forms of renewable natural gas,” says Moffatt. StormFisher was also recently awarded a contract for a new green bin program in Stratford in which the organic waste will be used to create renewable gas at their facility.

Study on EPR’s effect on packaging prices: What you can and can’t do with data

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Written by Calvin Lakhan, Ph.D, Co-Investigator: “The Waste Wiki” – Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University

I’m actually really glad that Jodi Tomchyshyn London found and shared the following study by RRS: Impact of EPR for PPP on Price of Consumer Packaged Goods.

In short, after undertaking a fairly comprehensive examination of jurisdictions across Canada (both with and without EPR legislation), the study concluded that EPR policy has no affect on packaging prices.

The University had an opportunity to review this study as part of some technical advice that we were providing to the state of Oregon (specifically surrounding the impacts of EPR). The RRS study directly contravened our own findings, and as a result, we wanted to better understand why.

I want to preface this by saying that the intent of this post is not to criticize or undermine the work that RRS has done. It was well researched, and I applaud them for wading into such a messy and controversial topic and attempting to provide some clarity. However, the point I do want to make in this post is helping stakeholders understand what they can and cannot do with data. Jodi had made a really good point about understanding the context surrounding data – we need to understand how that information was collected, analyzed, interpreted and presented. I couldn’t agree more…. which is why I sometimes cringe when I see the conclusions that people arrive at, due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what you can do with data.

Going back to the RRS study, regardless of how you feel about EPR and its potential impacts, it is critical that stakeholders understand that the RRS study has some methodological deficiencies, and as a result, leads to erroneous conclusions that cannot be supported by the data. This isn’t a question of opinion – given the way the study was designed, it is not possible for RRS to make any statements regarding the effect of EPR policy on packaging prices. Comparing costs across jurisdictions (even for like products and retailers) is not likely to yield any meaningful inferences with respect to the impact of EPR policies. There are literally hundreds of variables that affect the price of goods across localities (even for the same product and retailer). Demographics, infrastructure, relative purchasing power, proximity to markets, density of competing retailers etc. all effect price. In order for RRS to make the statements they did, they would have to control for all of these factors using statistical techniques such as multivariate regression to specifically isolate the effects of EPR on packaging prices. Given that many of these explanatory variables are collinear, they would also need establish controls for interdependency among explanatory variables.

While the above description may be a tad technical, the best way to look at it is that we are trying to compare identical systems, where the only variable being changed is the presence or absence of EPR programs. All other variables that can potentially impact a product’s price need to be controlled for. As far as I can tell, RRS made no attempts to control for interdependent variables and arrived at a conclusion that cannot be substantiated empirically. The only observation that can be made is that product prices differ from province to province, but provides no insight as to why they differ.

Given that my perspective may be seen as biased given that the university developed an alternative model, I would *strongly* encourage you to have a third party expert with a background in statistics and study design to review the RRS methodology. I am absolutely positive that they would reach an identical conclusion.

This is what is so potentially dangerous about attempting to interpret data without having a sound knowledge of how that data was collected and what you can do with it. In my career, I have countless anecdotes of stakeholders from all walks of life who draw the wrong conclusions, imply causality or infer relationships that simply aren’t there. When a misinterpretation of data leads to policy and legislation, the results can be catastrophic.

In the very first presentation I ever gave on the Waste Wiki, one of the slides says “Data without consideration of context or design does not tell us very much”. That message rings true more than ever today.

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About the Author

Calvin Lakhan, Ph.D, is currently co-investigator of the “Waste Wiki” project at York University (with Dr. Mark Winfield), a research project devoted to advancing understanding of waste management research and policy in Canada. He holds a Ph.D from the University of Waterloo/Wilfrid Laurier University joint Geography program, and degrees in economics (BA) and environmental economics (MEs) from York University. His research interests and expertise center around evaluating the efficacy of municipal recycling initiatives and identifying determinants of consumer recycling behavior.

Inspiring Advice at the Women in Waste Webinar

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The Ontario Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA Ontario) and the City of Toronto recently hosted a webinar entitled Women in Waste.  The purpose of the webinar was to showcase inspiring women in the Ontario waste industry.

Featured speakers for the event included the Betsy Varghese (Waste Management Technical Group Strategist at Dillon Consulting), Charlotte Ueta (Project Director, Business Transformation EPR, City of Toronto), Daina Conley (Manager, Community Recycling Centre Operations, Region of Peel) and Sherry Brotherston (Operations Team Lead, Halton Region).  The moderator for the webinar was Eileen Chen (Household Hazardous Waste Operator, Region of Peel).

During the webinar, each featured speaker shared their experiences in various sub-sectors of waste management and discussed the challenges they faced in male dominated work places. The women shared their daily life routines and their motivations.  The discussed who their mentors were and how they were able to overcome the challenges they faced.

One motivation shared by the majority of the panelists was the excitement of working in an industry that is constantly changing.  They shared their passions on working in an industry where their contributions help improve the environment.  They also described the great feeling they get when they are working on a project that results in environmental improvements.

Each panelist agreed that having a trusting and supportive mentor helped them grow their passion in the industry.  One panelist talked of a mentor that helped put wings to her dreams and provided her with opportunities to expand her abilities.  Another panelist added that her mentor’s communication style and guidance on different approaches to difficult situations was magical and fueled her passion.  To this day panelists still network with their mentors in the industry.

Another key point raised in the webinar was balance between work and personal life.  Panelists admitted that family commitments made for challenging times are work and that they had to say no work opportunities on occasion.  One panelist described the initial difficulty of working late-night shifts after coming back from maternity leave but soon adapted to it.

Panelists acknowledged that it important as professionals to recognize that no person can do it all and that it is important to acknowledge one’s own feelings and to be kind to yourself and appreciate your best efforts.

For each panelist in the webinar, overcoming the obstacles of work in the waste industry wasn’t easy.  Each relied on the help and advice of their network and mentors.  It helped that they have a passion of the industry and are confident in what they can contribute to the sector.  Getting recognized for a doing a great job certainly helps build confidence and motivation for further success.

Panelists acknowledged that the waste industry profession is not seen by the general public as glamorous work.  It can be messy and require hands-on attention.  However, it is also an industry that needs professionals to work on policies and procedures, budget and plan, and to manage and lead.  The profession needs scientist, engineers, researchers, and planners.  In all facets of the waste industry, women can be found that have made great contributions.

The mission of Women in Waste is to promote the synergic involvement of all genders in the sector and appreciation of their work.

Virtual Ontario Environment and Cleantech Business + Policy Forum

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When businesses and entrepreneurs face uncertainty, we know what to do.  Gather more information.  Build our networks.  Develop new markets.  And never stop looking for intelligence we can use.

That’s why a growing number of Ontario environmental and cleantech companies and organizations from across Ontario’s environment and cleantech sector will be attending the first virtual Environment and Cleantech Business + Policy Forum, organized by the Ontario Environment Industry Association (ONEIA).  The eighth edition of this event will feature speakers and panels on investment trends and key markets, an annual Q&A session with Ontario Deputy Ministers and our Skip Willis Award presentation. Plus networking opportunities with more than 150 attendees!

The popular Policy Roundtables will be hosted in the week leading up to the Business + Policy Forum from September 14-18. Hear the latest on sector-specific topics around water, excess soils, climate resiliency, brownfield remediation, waste and organics.

Here are four (4) key reasons to attend this event:

  • Learn where key markets and potential investment are going. The speakers and panels will feature leading investment, finance and market experts who will discuss where key areas of environment and cleantech will be going in coming years.  What will grow?   What will face challenges?  Where should businesses look to expand?
  • Hear “what’s next!” Our popular “QuickPitch” competition will see emerging entrepreneurs from a range of new businesses share their pitches with the audience.  This always entertaining, rapid-fire format will share new business models from new companies across the environment and cleantech space.  Your next partner or supplier (or competitor) could be on the stage!
  • Gain insight into the priorities of key ministries. Our “Chat with the Deputies” is a popular feature of the Forum.  This moderated discussion with Deputy Ministers from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks and the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Job Creation will see them share their strategic insights into their priorities and take questions from the audience.
  • Expand your networks. The Business and Policy Forum features a “who’s who” of companies from across the environmental business sector, as well as senior investment, government and policy people.  Meet new contacts through our online networking sessions or on your own time through private messaging and hold video meetings directly in the virtual platform.

Private Company Developing new Organics Processing Facility in Toronto

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Coronation Organics Processing, Inc. is in the processing of developing a state-of-the-art, organics recycling and bioenergy facility to be located in Toronto.  When constructed, the facility will have  state-of-the-art de-packaging equipment capable of processing over 30 tonnes per hour of mixed packaged organics for recycling.

From food manufacturing, greenhouse and packing shed organics, grocery store and restaurant food green-box collection, the facility will be able to divert organic material from landfill and recycle it into renewable energy and organic fertilizer is an environmentally sound solution for the treatment of organic waste streams.

Facility Design

As proposed by the company, the Design and Operation (D&O) Report details the design and operation of the proposed Coronation Organics Processing Centre and Anaerobic Digester.
The facility consists of two parts, an Organics Processing Centre (OPC) and Anaerobic Digester System. The facility is designed to work together to process and transfer organic residues for the generation of renewable natural gas and organic fertilizer (digestate). The OPC is designed to be able to provide clean organics for the anaerobic digester system or for export from site. The anaerobic digester system uses the clean organics to generate renewable natural gas for injection into the existing natural gas grid and digestate for export from site for use as an organic fertilizer.

Facility Description

The Facility is currently permitted via ECA Number 4568-AJTR84 is held by Optimum Environmental Corp.  The existing permit includes construction and demolition (C&D) and organics processing on the same permit but as the operation of these two processes is different and that they operate independently of
one another, it is requested that the Permit be split into two separate ECA Permits.
The only shared equipment between the two facilities will be fencing and gates, the weigh-scales that are used to weigh trucks as they enter and exit the property and the roads on the site. All other activities are separate.
The Organics Processing Centre (OPC) is designed to process up to 1240 metric tons per day of organics. Of this material, the anaerobic digester system can process up to 620 metric tons/day.  Any organic material that is processed through the OPC that is not used as feedstock to the anaerobic digester will be exported from the site to other operating anaerobic digester facilities or other appropriately permitted facilities.
The anaerobic digester system will use processed organic residuals from IC&I and SSO material to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) for injection into the natural gas grid and digestate for use on agricultural land.

 

Industry 4.0 and the Circular Economy: Towards a Wasteless Future or a Wasteful Planet?

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Industry 4.0 and Circular Economy: Towards a Wasteless Future or a Wasteful Planet?
Written by Antonis Mavropoulos and Anders Waage Nilsen
Publishing September 2020

HOW THE MARRIAGE OF INDUSTRY 4.0 AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY CAN RADICALLY TRANSFORM WASTE MANAGEMENT—AND OUR WORLD

Do we really have to make a choice between a wasteless and nonproductive world or a wasteful and ultimately self-destructive one? Futurist and world-renowned waste management scientist Antonis Mavropoulos and sustainable business developer and digital strategist Anders Waage Nilsen respond with a ringing and optimistic “No!” They explore the Earth-changing potential of a happy (and wasteless) marriage between Industry 4.0 and a Circular Economy that could—with properly reshaped waste management practices—deliver transformative environmental, health, and societal benefits. This book is about the possibility of a brand-new world and the challenges to achieve it.

The fourth industrial revolution has given us innovations including robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D-printing, and biotech. By using these technologies to advance the Circular Economy—where industry produces more durable materials and runs on its own byproducts—the waste management industry will become a central element of a more sustainable world and can ensure its own, but well beyond business as usual, future. Mavropoulos and Nilsen look at how this can be achieved—a wasteless world will require more waste management—and examine obstacles and opportunities such as demographics, urbanization, global warming, and the environmental strain caused by the rise of the global middle class.

  • Explore the new prevention, reduction, and elimination methods transforming waste management
  • Comprehend and capitalize on the business implications for the sector
  • Understand the theory via practical examples and case studies
  • Appreciate the social benefits of the new approach

Waste-management has always been vital for the protection of health and the environment. Now it can become a crucial role model in showing how Industry 4.0 and the Circular Economy can converge to ensure flourishing, sustainable—and much brighter—future.

Source: Wiley Publishers

Stats Canada’s latest Survey on Waste Management in Canada

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Statistics Canada recently released its data from its latest survey on waste management in Canada. The survey was for the 2018 calendar year.  The previous survey covered 2016.

The data shows that almost 26 million tonnes of non-hazardous waste went to private and public waste disposal facilities in Canada in 2018, an increase of about 3% since 2016.  Disposal of non-residential waste amounted to almost 14.9 million tonnes, representing 58% of all waste disposed, while waste from Canadian households accounted for the remaining 42% (10.8 million tonnes).

StatsCan cautions that the data is preliminary. Complete data on waste disposal and diversion for 2018, as well as financial data for the same year, will be released at a later date.

Waste management industry surveys are completed by businesses and municipal government bodies involved in waste management activities. These surveys collect information on the quantity of waste that is disposed of in—or diverted from—landfills. Financial and employment information is also collected.

Peter Hargreave of Policy Integrity Inc. noted that although only a small year over year increase – it is interesting to see the percentage of residential waste disposed in Canada steadily grow as compared to non-residential.

Analysis by Peter Hargreave, Policy Integrity Inc., of Stats Can’s data

GFL Environmental Announces US$835 million Acquisition of Assets and Expansion of U.S. Footprint

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GFL Environmental Inc. (NYSE andTSX: GFL) (“GFL” or the “Company”), a Canadian-headquartered environmental services company, recently announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase a portfolio of vertically integrated solid waste collection, transfer, recycling and disposal assets (the “Acquisition”) for an aggregate purchase price of US$835 million.

The assets to be acquired by the Company, which include 32 collection operations, 36 transfer stations and 18 landfills supported by 380 collection vehicles across 10 U.S. states, represent substantially all of the divestiture assets expected to result from the previously announced acquisition of Advanced Disposal Services, Inc. (“ADS”) by a wholly owned subsidiary of Waste Management, Inc. (“WM” and such transaction, the “WM-ADS Transaction”). The acquired assets are expected to generate annualized revenue of approximately US$345 million.

Strategic Benefits of the Acquisition

The acquired assets are expected to support GFL’s continued organic growth extending its reach into new and adjacent markets and forming a base to pursue synergistic tuck-in acquisitions. GFL expects that the Acquisition will significantly expand its U.S. footprint while creating an opportunity to realize meaningful synergies and earnings accretion. The Acquisition is expected to:

  • Expand GFL’s Geographical Reach. The Acquisition provides GFL with an attractive opportunity to extend its geographical reach into the U.S. Midwest, through a network of vertically integrated assets with a strong regional market presence in the State of Wisconsin.
  • Provide a Complementary Asset Network. The Acquisition brings a high-quality, complementary asset network and customer base to GFL’s existing operations in the States of MichiganGeorgiaAlabama and Pennsylvania.
  • Improve Operating Margins. WM and GFL will enter into a reciprocal 5-year disposal arrangement that will provide the Company with competitive, stable and predictable pricing and disposal terms.
  • Create Long Term Shareholder Value. The Acquisition reinforces the Company’s goal of creating long term equity value for shareholders. The high-quality portfolio of acquired assets coupled with the experienced management team joining GFL are expected to be immediately accretive to free cash flow and provide opportunities for the Company to continue to pursue its growth strategy.

“Even during these unprecedented times, we continue to successfully execute on our growth strategy of pursuing strategic and accretive acquisitions.  This transaction presents GFL with a unique opportunity to significantly expand our U.S. footprint through the acquisition of a high quality, vertically integrated set of assets in both our existing and adjacent fast growing U.S. markets,” said Patrick Dovigi, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GFL. “We are excited to welcome over 900 employees of WM and ADS to the GFL family and are confident that we will continue to offer excellent customer service to our expanded customer base.”

Timing and Approvals

The Acquisition is subject to certain customary closing conditions, including approval by the U.S. Department of Justice and the closing of the WM-ADS Transaction. The Acquisition is not subject to any financing conditions. Closing is expected to occur in the third quarter of 2020, following the WM-ADS Transaction.

Financing of the Acquisition

GFL is well positioned to fund the Acquisition with its strong balance sheet and proven access to capital markets. The Company currently anticipates funding the Acquisition using a combination of capacity under its revolving credit facility and cash on hand but will evaluate other longer-term strategic and opportunistic financing opportunities as they present themselves.  Following completion of the Acquisition, GFL expects to maintain its current credit rating profile and leverage within previously stated ranges.

Waste Technology Company selected as a “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum

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Enevo, a smart waste technology company, was recently selected among hundreds of candidates as one of the World Economic Forum’s “Technology Pioneers”.  Enevo’s unique Internet of Things (IoT) sensor technology, analytics and logistics software monitor and predict waste behavior to create custom, sustainable, and efficient waste services.

The World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers are early to growth-stage companies from around the world that are involved in the design, development and deployment of new technologies and innovations, and are poised to have a significant impact on business and society. Technology Pioneers community is an integral part of the larger Global Innovators community of start-ups at the World Economic Forum.

Enevo’s waste technology was recognized for its innovative and practical use in the waste world and the benefits it creates for civilian life. Enevo’s smart waste sensor monitors fill levels and collections while its analytics software employs sensor data to create custom waste services. Resulting collection schedules and routes drive the fewest number of miles while avoiding container overflow, eliminating unnecessary collections and carbon emissions. Enevo’s customers decrease operation costs while increasing efficiency and sustainability.

“We are delighted the World Economic Forum has recognized our journey in changing waste management and how our innovations in waste data and logistics optimization contributes to global resource efficiency,” says Enevo CEO Fredrik Kekalainen. “We believe data is crucial to create meaningful changes. You can’t manage properly if you don’t have enough information. We started Enevo to help innovative technology,communities decrease waste and increase recycling practices through data insight. We are honored to receive this prestigious award and become part of the World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers community.”

This year’s cohort selection marks the 20th anniversary of the Tech Pioneers community. Throughout its 20-year run, many Technology Pioneers have continuously contributed to advancement in their industries while some have even gone on to become household names. Past recipients include Airbnb, Google, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Palantir Technologies, Spotify, TransferWise, Twitter and Wikimedia.

Technology Pioneers have been selected based on the community’s selection criteria, which includes innovation, impact and leadership as well as the company’s relevance with the World Economic Forum’s Platforms.

About Enevo

Enevo is the leading international smart waste technology company. With more than 100 patents, Enevo’s sensor technology and advanced analytics software creates custom waste solutions based on unique waste behavior. Enevo’s 40,000+ active sensors and software suite increase efficiency, reduce collections, decrease carbon emissions, decrease operating costs, and increase sustainability. Enevo has offices in Espoo, Finland, Nottingham, UK, and Boston, USA, and a global reseller network in more than a dozen countries.

About World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. (www.weforum.org).

About the Global Innovators:

The Global Innovators Community is a group of the world’s most promising start-ups and scale-ups that are at the forefront of technological and business model innovation. The World Economic Forum provides the Global Innovators Community with a platform to engage with public- and private-sector leaders and to contribute new solutions to overcome current crises and build future resiliency.

Companies who are invited to become Global Innovators will engage with one or more of the Forum’s Platforms, as relevant, to help define the global agenda on key issues.

Global Smart Waste Management Market valued at at $1.5 Billion

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According to a recent market research report prepared by Maximize Market Research, the global smart waste management market was valued at US$ 1.5 Billion in 2019 and is expected to reach approximately US$ 9.53 Billion by 2027, at compound annual growth rate of 26% during forecast period of 2020 to 2027.

The global smart waste management market is segmented into Waste Type, Solution, Service, Applications and Regions. Based on Waste Type Market is segmented into Industrial Waste and Residential Waste. Based on the solution, the smart waste management market is segmented into network management, analytics and reporting solutions, optimization solutions, asset management, asset management, fleet management, remote monitoring and others. On the basis of service, the global market is bifurcated into managed services and professional services. On the basis of application, the market is divided into food & retail, manufacturing & industrial, municipalities, construction, healthcare, and colleges & universities.

Not only for smart cities or urban areas but smart waste management needed in the rural areas of a country as well. As wastes create problem to the environment and can harm to the humans as well as animals on planet by spreading any kind of diseases and allergies. Wrong methods of waste disposal and landfills also cause environmental hazards and health issues, hence it has become need of the current and forecasted era to look out for so

me smart ways to dispose of the waste. If waste management has done in a good way, it may act as a renewable resource. The companies that offer smart solutions for waste collection primarily focus on three solutions intelligent monitoring, route optimization, and analytics.

The rising volume of waste is creating complexities in the logistics of waste collection and need to meet the several regulations by government and environmental authorities relating to waste processing, urges for the better waste management solutions, which can be made possible by the use of advanced technologies, such as IoT sensors, RFID, GPS, etc. Owing to the several reasons, the smart waste management market is at an emerging phase, and it is estimated to witness healthy growth of CAGR 26% during forecast period 2020-2027.

The report encompasses the market by different segments and region, providing an in-depth analysis of the overall industry ecosystem, useful for making an informed strategic decision by the key stakeholders in the industry. Importantly, the report delivers forecasts and share of the market, further giving an insight into the market dynamics, and future opportunities that might exist in the Global Smart Waste Management Market. The driving forces, as well as considerable restraints, have been explained in depth. In addition to this, competitive landscape describing the strategic growth of the competitors have been taken into consideration for enhancing market know-how of our clients and at the same time explain Global Smart Waste Management Market positioning of competitors.