Lethbridge Biogas facility undergoing $7 million expansion

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The Lethbridge Alberta Biogas facility is undergoing a $7 million expansion.  The expansion will introduce the company into the natural gas market by allowing biogas to be purified into pipeline-grade biomethane.  With the expansion it will soon be able to supply renewable natural gas to the Lethbridge area and also expand into the British Columbia market.

The expansion will introduce Lethbridge Biogas into the natural gas market, by allowing for the plant’s biogas to be purified into pipeline-grade biomethane, (renewable natural gas or RNG), which will be injected into ATCO’s natural gas grid. This carbon-neutral biomethane will also be supplied to FortisBC under a long-term supply agreement by mid-2021. Once the expansion is complete, Lethbridge Biogas will have the first full-scale, commercial renewable natural gas application in Alberta.

“This expansion at our Lethbridge Biogas facility is another significant milestone in the history of our project,” says Lethbridge Biogas Director of Operations Stefan Michalski. “It is the result of dedication and very hard work from our team over many, many years to get our business established, not only in the Lethbridge area but beyond in the Canadian and North American context. A lot of players in the RNG market were interested to become part of this expansion, as RNG has become a highly sought-after commodity to reduce the carbon footprint in the natural gas supply chain.”

Feedstock

The Lethbridge biogas/cogeneration plant processes organic residues such as agricultural manures and food processing by-products. The facility is currently able to process the following categories of organic materials:

  • Liquid & solid manures from Intensive Livestock Operations (beef, dairy, hog & poultry etc.)
  • Fats, Oil & Greases (FOG) from slaughterhouses, meat packing plants, canneries, restaurants, food processors, cafeterias & grocery stores
  • Food processing residues (oils seeds, grains, fruit & vegetables, corn, beet, potato, dairy products, alcohol, etc.)
  • Aerobic sludges from non-municipal wastewater treatment & industrial process water
  • Pet food residues
  • Separated kitchen & market residues from food processors, bakeries, pizza parlours, restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores, hospitals, universities, households
  • Paunch manure from meat packing plants
  • Non-wood containing garden & horticultural residues from greenhouses, garden centers, flower shops, municipalities, households
  • Glycerol from industrial biodiesel production
  • Silage from farm operations (corn, grain, grass etc.)
  • Pulp & paper sludges from paper mills
  • Animal by-products from slaughterhouses and packing plants and animal carcasses from intensive livestock operations incl. Specified Risk Material (SRM)

History of the Facility

In 2013 Lethbridge Biogas LP officially opened the largest anaerobic digester/co-generation facility in Canada at the time. Designed and built by PlanET Biogas, the $30 million facility has a generating capacity of 2.8 MW – enough to power 2,800 homes. It was built such that it has the capacity to expand to produce as much as 4.2 MW in the future with the addition of new generating units.

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

Terrapure and East Penn Canada recognized for closed-loop battery recycling solutions

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Terrapure Environmental® and East Penn Canada recently announced that they received an Environment + Energy Leader Award for Project of the Year for their closed-loop, circular-economy approach to lead battery recycling. The Environment + Energy Leader Awards is a program recognizing excellence in products and services that provide companies with energy and environmental benefits, and in projects implemented by companies that improve environmental or energy management and increase the bottom line.

East Penn Canada collects spent batteries from its customers and ships them to Terrapure to break the batteries down to their base components for recycling. Terrapure processes and refines the lead to East Penn’s specifications, and it is then returned to East Penn’s battery manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania for use in new batteries.

“This approach is a real win-win,” said Ross Atkinson, Senior Vice President of Battery Recycling at Terrapure. “It provides East Penn a closed-loop recycling process for their batteries, ensuring a beneficial reuse of a valuable commodity, while also helping preserve a finite natural resource. We’re proud to be recognized for our battery-recycling efforts.”

“Not only does Terrapure’s recycling process provide a circular-economy solution for a portion of East Penn’s lead batteries, it also takes 60 percent less energy to produce recycled lead, helping to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Mike Bouchard, President East Penn Canada.

While the overall caliber of entries was exceptionally high this year, judges agreed that East Penn and Terrapure’s closed-loop recycling process demonstrates impressive results. One judge noted: “Building a closed-loop circular-economy system is a significant challenge and expense. Great to see an investment that will impact a broad sector, since lead batteries are used in so many products, both consumer-focused and manufacturing/industrial. The entry provides multiple environmental management results, including preventing waste and promoting reuse, reduced energy consumption for production, and reduced waste to landfill.”

This is the fourth consecutive year Terrapure has been honoured with an Environment + Energy Leader Award. Previously, the company was recognized for its innovative centrifuge technology, its oil-recycling program and its innovative use of biosolids to remediate a mine site with Vale Canada.

“With rapid advancements and a near-constant rate of change in the field, sustainability and energy professionals had to prove to our judges that they were really the best of the best this year,” said Sarah Roberts, Environment + Energy Leader publisher. “With a highly respected – and critical – judging panel and a strict set of judging criteria, entrants faced an extremely high bar to qualify for an award.”

Terrapure receives approximately 10 million batteries annually and produces 125,000 metric tonnes of recycled lead per year, recovering 99 percent of batteries in Canada and diverting them from the landfill.

About East Penn Canada

East Penn Canada specializes in the distribution and safe recovery of lead batteries in Canada. East Penn Canada is headquartered in Ajax, Ontario and operates the largest Canadian distribution and recovery network supported by 17 fully stocked warehouses, a company owned fleet and over 300 employees of battery solution experts.

About Terrapure

Terrapure Environmental is a Canadian provider of essential environmental and industrial services for industrial, commercial and institutional customers, including those in the manufacturing, mining, municipal, oil and gas, pulp and paper, refining and petrochemical, transportation, and utilities sectors. Headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, the company employ approximately 2,000 people and operate an integrated network of over 70 locations across
Canada.

U.S.: Expansion of a New Mapping Tool For Managing Debris

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently announced the nationwide expansion of an interactive dataset that maps recyclers and landfills for the planning, response, and recovery of debris. This debris recovery tool has already proven valuable in training exercises and response activity to natural disasters.

“EPA is prepared to help communities more rapidly recover from natural disasters,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA’s debris recovery tool will assist federal, state, local and tribal emergency personnel to quickly identify recycling, composting, and disposal facilities near affected areas that may be able to accept disaster debris.”

The expansion of the recovery tool was supported by the E-Enterprise Initiative that emphasizes collaboration and data sharing among EPA, states, and tribes. The recovery tool advances EPA’s goals of recycling and material recovery following natural disasters, such as hurricanes, and is one of several resources mentioned in EPA’s Planning for Natural Disaster Debris Guidance.

The recovery tool can also assist with debris management planning by identifying potential facilities before a disaster occurs, which can help communities recover faster. Better management of debris may reduce injuries, minimize or prevent the environmental impacts of mismanaged wastes and ultimately support compliance with environmental regulations.

Early adoption of the interactive tool in EPA’s Region 5 office has already led to successful disaster debris management planning for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and tornado response by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on EPA’s debris recovery tool, visit https://www.epa.gov/debris-recovery-map.

For more information on EPA’s Planning for Natural Disaster Debris guide and managing materials and wastes for homeland security incidents, visit: https://www.epa.gov/homeland-security-waste.

For more information on the E-Enterprise Initiative, visit: https://www.epa.gov/e-enterprise.

For more information on EPA’s emergency response program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/emergency-response.

Source: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Ontario Government to grant Municipalities the right to landfill Approvals

The Ontario Government recently introduced legislation that will provide municipal governments with the right to approve new landfill projects. When the legislative process is complete, impacted communities will have a final say on whether a proposed project can move forward. The legislation provides that municipalities within 3.5km of a proposed landfill site – whether a host municipality, or a neighbouring municipality – will have the right to approve or reject these projects.

The Demand the Right Coalition of Ontario Municipalities (www.demandtheright.ca) has championed the need for municipalities to have approval rights over landfill projects beginning with the  in 2017. Since that time, the Coalition has grown to over 148 municipalities across Ontario including both urban and rural communities.

The legislation proposes amendments to Ontario’s Environment Assessment legislation. Once passed, the legislation will affect any new landfill project that has not already received the approval of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MOECP).

“We fought hard to have adjacent municipalities included in the approval process,” said Mayor Ted Comiskey, Chair of the province-wide group, and Mayor of Ingersoll.  Comiskey. “This is very important, as the new landfill proposals can have just as much or more impact on an adjacent community as the host community.”

Comiskey said, “All the members of our coalition are anxious to see the legislative process completed as soon as possible. Once set into law, private waste management companies will finally have to respect the wishes of local communities.”

“This does not mean the end of new landfills in Ontario,” Comiskey said. “The legislation creates an even playing field for municipalities and the waste management companies that may want to develop a landfill in or near that community’s jurisdiction.”

Peter Hargreave, President of Policy Ingretity Inc., stated in a LinkedIn post, that the new legislation will mean less landfills and greater recycling, more Energy-from-Waste, or more trucks heading to the landfills in the United States.

Quebec Government commits to Province-wide composting by 2025

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The Quebec government recently announced that is was putting $1.2 billion towards a composting strategy that will result in all citizens in the province having  access to composting services come 2025 and with the fully implemented by 2030.  In addition to providing composting services to citizens across the province, the plan is to manage composting in all industries, businesses and institutions by 2025 as well, in the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 270,000 tonnes per year by 2030.

“We are taking another step forward by investing $1.2 billion to divert organic matter from disposal sites and ensure their recovery, which will significantly contribute to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” Benoit Charette, Quebec Environment Minister said in a statement. “Thanks to the support of the government and the municipalities, the entire population as well as industries, businesses and institutions will be able to contribute to an even healthier management of our residual materials.”

Currently, only 57 per cent of Quebecers have access to food waste collection services. The province’s waste totals in at 5.8 million tons per year, 60 per cent of which is organic matter. The waste sector also emits around 4.55 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year and is the fifth largest contributor in the province.

The new strategy aims to adapt collection services as well as processing facilities to Quebec’s many regions. To promote composting and limit waste, the government is increasing landfill charges from $23.51 to $30 per ton.  Charette said this sends a clear signal that Quebec intends to discourage the elimination of residual materials in favour of their recovery.

The government claims that for this strategy to work, all actors, including those at the municipal level, must share responsibilities – and it says it plans on helping them better manage their green waste and improving their ecocentres to do so. Quebec will work with municipalities to speed up the establishment of collection services and processing facilities. In addition, the province will promote the quality of the organic matter treated and the development of local outlets for composts and other residual fertilizing materials from this collection.

The program to reduce, recover and recycle organic materials from industries, businesses and institutions, administered by Recyc-Québec, will be awarded $9.6 million. The Crown corporation is also responsible for a new recognition program for sorting centres for construction, renovation and demolition residue. That program is the result of concerted discussions with the residual materials management industry.

In summary, the goals of Quebec’s compost strategy are as follows:

  • Offer the collection of organic matter to all citizens of Quebec by 2025.
  • Manage organic matter in 100 per cent of industries, businesses and institutions by 2025.
  • Recycle or recover 70 per cent of the organic matter targeted by 2030.
  • Reduce 270,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The plan also intends to allocate funds to programs that finance the management of organic matter, which will help boost green infrastructures. The government says this will help boost the province’s economic recovery.

 

Australian Government to directly invest $190 million on a Waste & Recycling Plan to Transform the Industry

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The Australian Government recently announced that it will commit $190 million to a new Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) that will generate $600 million of recycling investment and drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.

The government claims that more than 10,000 jobs will be created and over 10 million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill to the making of useful products as Australia turbo charges its recycling capacity.

The RMF will support innovative investment in new infrastructure to sort, process and remanufacture materials such as mixed plastic, paper, tyres and glass, with Commonwealth funding contingent on co-funding from industry, states and territories.

Australia’s waste and recycling transformation is being further strengthened by an additional:

  • $35 million to implement Commonwealth commitments under Australia’s National Waste Policy Action Plan, which sets the direction for waste management and recycling in Australia until 2030.
  • $24.6 million on Commonwealth commitments to improve our national waste data so it can measure recycling outcomes and track progress against our national waste targets.
  • The introduction of new Commonwealth waste legislation to formally enact the Government’s waste export ban and encourage companies to take greater responsibility for the waste they generate, from product design through to recycling, remanufacture or disposal (Product Stewardship).

The moves are part of a national strategy to change the way Australia looks at waste, grow the economy, protect the environment and reach a national resource recovery target of 80% by 2030.

“As we cease shipping our waste overseas, the waste and recycling transformation will reshape our domestic waste industry, driving job creation and putting valuable materials back into the economy,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said in a recent news release.

Susan Ley, Australian Minister of the Environment

“Australians need to have faith that the items they place in their kerbside recycling bins will be re-used in roads, carpet, building materials and a range of other essential items.

“At the same time, we need to stop throwing away tonnes of electronic waste and batteries each year and develop new ways to recycle valuable resources.

“As we pursue National Waste Policy Action Plan targets, we need manufacturers and industry to take a genuine stewardship role that helps create a sustainable circular economy.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity.”

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, said that the unparalleled expansion of Australia’s recycling capacity followed close consultation with industry.

“Our targeted investment will grow Australia’s circular economy, create more jobs and build a stronger onshore recycling industry,” Assistant Minister Evans said.

“Australian companies are turning plastics and household waste into furniture, decking, fencing and clothing, and we are developing new domestic markets for recycled materials by setting national standards for recycled content in roads and making recycled products a focus of procurement for infrastructure, defence estate management and general government purchasing.

“Our targeted investment will grow Australia’s circular economy, create more jobs and build a stronger onshore recycling industry.

“Companies are already moving with The Pact Group announcing a $500 million investment in facilities, research and technology, Coca-Cola Amatil committing to new recycling targets, and Pact, Cleanaway and Asahi Beverages establishing a $30 million recycling facility in Albury.”

Waste export ban to start from January 2021

The unparalleled expansion of Australia’s recycling capacity follows the 2019 National Waste Policy Action Plan, Australia’s government ban on exports of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres, and this year’s first ever National Plastics Summit.

The waste export ban was due to commence on July 1st, 2020. After consulting with industry and as a result of restrictions related to COVID-19 impacting Parliament’s ability to pass legislation in by July 1st, the ban will now commence on January 1st, 2021. The schedule for implementing the export ban on waste plastic, paper and tyres remains unchanged.

 

 

Ontario’s Durham Region Moving ahead with Anaerobic Digester Facility

The Region of Durham Council, elected offiicals that represent the municipality located immediately east of Toronto, recently agreed to continue the negotiation of a joint venture/co-ownership agreement with Epcor Utilities for the development of the Anaerobic Digestion plant for source separate organics.

The mixed waste pre-sort AD facility with an energy-from-waste plant will be a first-of-its-kind fully integrated waste management initiative in North America, according to the council. The system will convert food scraps into renewable natural gas and will use residuals to generate electrical energy that can be used in various applications.

The proposed AD process will be ‘odour and emissions-free’, according to the council, thanks to a facility with negative pressure and the use of bio-filters.

“This is an exciting project for Durham Region, said John Henry, regional chair and CEO. “AD has many environmental benefits that contribute to Durham’s climate change mitigation initiatives and allows us to continue to treat waste as a resource to generate energy.

“The mixed waste pre-sort facility will increase our diversion rates by capturing items that should not have been placed in the garbage, while at the same time processing food scraps into energy and fertiliser products. It’s an initiative that continues to solidify our position as an environmental leader.”

The new facility will be located next to the Durham York Energy Centre (DYEC) in the Energy Park. It will incorporate sustainable development principles and complement the current architectural design and landscaping of the park. Traffic into the DYEC will only increase by two waste delivery trucks when the plant is operational.

According to Durham Region, the facility will delay the need to expand the DYEC facility. The organisation said the local population is growing and expected to reach more than one million people in the next 10 years, meaning more waste will be created.

Susan Siopis, commissioner of works, added: “This will be a one-of-a-kind facility, combining AD on-site with mixed waste pre-sorting, and will highlight the environmental leadership underway in Durham Region as we become the first in North America to build a facility like this.

“The pre-sort facility will not replace or eliminate the current Green Bin programme, instead, it will complement it by capturing from the garbage any organics the green bin did not capture.”

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.

Start-up receives $2.75M from SDTC to commercialize the manufacture of bioplastics from agricultural byproducts

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Sustainable Canada Technology Canada (SDTC) recently announced that it had granted $2.75 million to EcoPackers, a Canadian cleantech company that converts agricultural byproducts into 100 percent plant-based and compostable alternatives to traditional plastic inputs.

EcoPackers Leadership Team

Conceived by CEO Nuha Siddiqui during her time as president of the University of Toronto chapter of the social entrepreneurship club Enactus, Ecopackers is on a mission to reduce the world’s reliance on single-use plastics.

The Toronto-based company, developed with support from the Creative Destruction Lab, got its start manufacturing biodegradable packing peanuts made from agricultural byproducts. It has since expanded into producing eco-resins that can be used by manufacturers in place of plastic.

Unlike many existing bioplastics, Ecopackers’ resin is designed to be compatible with existing manufacturing technologies and processes.

“We were one of the only eco-focused companies out there that wasn’t going against the plastic manufacturers – we were actually trying to work with them to develop products that worked with their technology,” Siddiqui, a Rotman Commerce graduate, told U of T News.

The all-woman leadership team behind Ecopackers – which also includes chief technology officer Chang Dong and chief operating officer Kritika Tyagi – is now working on pilot products with manufacturers around the world.

About SDTC

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is a foundation created by the Government of Canada to support Canadian companies with the potential to become world leaders in their efforts to develop and demonstrate new environmental technologies that address climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil.