Fun with Waste: Five fun activities to teach your children about plastic pollution

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In response to recent world events that have resulted in more people spending time at home, the United Nations Environment Programme has come up with some ideas that parents and guardians can do with their children to teach them about the plastic pollution problem.

Idea 1: make a musical instrument out of plastic rubbish

Every year 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters our oceans. In 2018, Shady Rabab from Egypt won the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) prestigious Young Champion of the Earth Award for spotting an opportunity to get children off the streets and stop plastic from being wasted. He started the Garbage Conservatoire, touring with his band of children and their instruments made from plastic pollution showing the world that it’s not waste, until its wasted.

Encourage your children to use (clean) plastic rubbish to make their own instruments. They can even put on a concert for you or for social media. Click here to get some inspiration for the instruments you could make.

Idea 2: go through your cupboards and sort its content, like utensils, etc. into the type of material they are made of

Every day we use lots of plastic products without thinking about their impact on the planet. Go into your kitchen cupboards with your child and ask them to sort everything into the type of material (plastics, cardboard, aluminum, etc.) Ask your children to pick out the items that can be recycled and show them where on the packaging they can see if its recyclable or not. The United Nations Environment Programme Clean Seas educational pack can help to show children in greater detail what different types of plastic are out there, and ways that they can reduce their use of them.

Idea 3: have a plastic-free spa day

You might not be able to go out to a spa, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the spa to you! From baby wipes to scrubs with microplastics in (plastic pieces smaller than 5 mm), plastic is hidden in plain sight in many personal care products. Here you can see some of the sources of plastic pollution in your bathroom. A great way to combat hidden plastics is to have a do-it-yourself family home spa day. You can show your children how to make great natural scrubs from coconut oil, sugar and salt, and you can also make face masks from honey and bananas. Make some home treatments, put on some calming music, and relax.

Idea 4: make a boat out of plastic waste.

Many things that seem like soon-to-be trash can be given a fun new lease of life. Using plastic that you might otherwise throw away, help your child to make a small plastic raft or boat. They can put them in the bath or sink to see if they float and even take their toys on a boat ride! If possible, you could even take them to your local pond or stream and have raft races.

Flipflopi boat made from waste plastic

A recent Clean Seas campaign took part in this activity on a larger scale. A nine-metre long dhow made from 10 tonnes of recycled trash found on Kenya’s shorelines called “Flipflopi” sailed from Lamu, Kenya to Zanzibar raising awareness about plastic pollution.

Idea 5: put on a fashion show of clothes made out of rubbish

Upcycling—or “making new furniture, objects, etc. out of old or used things or waste material”—is one of the best fashion trends for the environment. In 2016, American Rob Greenfield wore every piece of trash he created in a month, turning it into a bulky trash-suit. Why not get your child to make some stylish fashion accessories out of plastic waste? They can put on a fashion show for you with their new creations!

There are many more ways that you can teach your children about plastic pollution and its impacts. UNEP’s Clean Seas website has advice for how to reduce your plastic footprint, and the impact that plastic pollution is having.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Automakers Charge Headlong Into EV Battery Recovery

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Written by Jonathan D. Cocker, Baker McKenzie

There has certainly been rapid growth in the market for electric vehicles (EV), in part due to their associated (and celebrated) environmental attributes.  What receives much less attention, however, is the looming waste-management challenge, particularly for EV lithium-ion batteries (LIBs).  The proliferation of post-consumer LIBs has yet to fully materialize given the recent installation of long-life LIBs across multiple vehicle industries, but the environmental price for the switch to EV will soon be paid by EV makers.

Currently, brands are scrambling to both develop their EV offerings and determine their resource recovery strategies around LIBs, which will be a source of strategic elements and critical materials for key components in new EVs, as well as a coming materials efficiency compliance obligations internationally.  So just where does LIB recycling stand today?

Re-Use as Energy Storage or Charging Stations

Recently, there has been some positive attention paid to the re-use opportunities for end-of-life LIBS – either as energy storage units or as part of EV charging stations- which Re-use is an accepted method of resource recovery, including under regulated LIB circular economy laws so there may well be a portion (however small) of post-consumer LIBs which are deployed for these projects.

The metals content of LIBs, however, is sufficiently valuable and the coming demand for LIBs is so great that the lithium-ion battery recycling industry will necessarily take the lion’s share of available batteries, even though the content of the LIBs continues to rapidly evolve as the technology develops.  Specific recovery goals applied to LIBs is a moving target right now.

LIBs and Eco-Design

Remanufacturing is permissible, if not encouraged, as a resource recovery activity under most legal regimes. For LIBs, this usually requires the disassembly of the LIB to at least the module level.  This will require high-voltage training and specialized tools to protect the operators and the battery from electrocution and short-circuiting risks, respectively.  There are also potentially toxic gases released in the process.

All of which highlights a key industry question- will there be eco-design rules such as right-to-repair disclosure and accessibility obligations upon the brands and their LIB providers, particularly given the variance in LIBS emerging across the vehicle spectrum.  The EU Right-to-Repair obligations for other e-waste, such as lighting, televisions and large appliances are set to apply within Europe as of April 1st, 2020 under the EU Eco-Design Resource Efficiency Standards.  It can be anticipated that similar accessibility obligations, including perhaps labelling and design data disclosures, could apply to LIBs in spite of the acute safety concerns.

Recycling, But Without Common Standards

The recycling of LIBs is certainly complicated by the myriad of physical configurations, cell types and chemistries, however leading companies are beginning this challenge through innovative process technologies capable of recycling a diverse feed of lithium-ion batteries.  Still, design-for-recycling of LIBs is not likely too far away and there are already state-of-the-art processing facilities in Europe and North America that engage in some recycling combination of stabilization, opening and separation of the LIB.

Proprietary LIB Recycling v. Industry Solution

Like every resource recovery market, there are EV brands which are seeking to develop market leading “closed loop” processes for their materials, through significant direct capital investment and / or strategic partnerships with the LIB maker and the specialized recycler.  These processes involve centralization of receiving and processing, with a heavy reliance on custom automated processing which may permit sorting for some combination of remanufacturing, re-use and recycling.  In the near term, these investments are likely to remain proprietary to the individual brands with limited accessibility to the rest of the industry.

For the remainder of the brands, the resource recovery pull will come either from the LIB maker servicing multiple brands or the local LIB recycling industries quickly growing around the pending demand, whether driven by waste diversion or circular economy requirements.  For now, there is likely more splintering and less convergence in the near term as brands come to fully develop their EV offerings, leaving legacy challenges for LIB recyclers in the years to come.

Two regulatory pushes will eventually bring needed standardization to LIBs: consistency of EV charging as an accessibility right; and circular economy / materials efficiency obligations for end-of-life LIBs as environmental compliance for EV industries.  However, as to when common standards (and common chemistries) are adopted is anyone’s guess.

This article has been republished with the permission of the author. It 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.

Economic Study of Canadian Plastics Industry, Markets, and Waste

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You may have missed a significant study published by Environment Canada and Climate Change (ECCC) last year on the Canadian plastics industry that included an examination of the waste. The scope of the study encompassed most plastics types used across all key sectors. It attempted to shed light on the entire plastics value chain in Canada, from raw material production and products manufacturing to use and end-of-life.

The study concludes that landfilling 87% of plastic waste represents a $7.8 billion lost opportunity. By 2030, it is estimated that Canada’s lost opportunity related to unrecovered plastics could rise to CA$11.1 billion, under a business as usual scenario following the same end uses and value recovery performance as the current baseline.

Domestically recycled “secondary” plastics output accounted for approximately CA$350 million in sales in Canada in 2016. In comparison with the sales of its primary resin competitor, it is 30 times smaller. The recycling industry focuses on polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) and is predominantly located in large end-markets providing easier access to plastic waste feedstock, such as in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

The main generating sectors for plastic waste are packaging (43 percent of total plastic waste), automotive (9 percent), textiles (7 percent), and electrical and electronic equipment (EEE 7 percent). The construction sector, while an important end-use market (accounting for 26 percent of plastic put on the market), is not yet a large plastic waste generator (5 percent), given the fairly recent incorporation of plastics in construction (in the 1980s and 90s) that remains ‘stocked’ in houses and buildings; this situation could change in future years with construction renewal. Under a business as usual situation, the linear profile of the Canadian plastics economy is not going to improve given forecasted trends in waste streams and economic drivers.

Ambitious Recycling Plan

An ambitious 2030 scenario was developed as part of the study to model the potential costs and benefits of achieving zero plastic waste. This scenario used a 90% landfill diversion rate as a proxy for zero plastic waste and assumed that: i) plastics production and end use applications increased but followed the same patterns as in 2016, ii) mechanical recycling was quadrupled from its business as usual level; iii) chemical recycling was significantly scaled up, taking into account readiness levels and associated learning curves and iv) energy from waste was leveraged to deal with the remaining volumes and hard-to-recycle plastics.

The 90% recycling scenario is not a prediction or a recommendation: it is an illustration of what zero plastic waste could look like given current product designs and emerging value recovery technologies. Changes in plastic production and design would open the door to higher value recycling and recovery options. However, even without such changes, a preliminary comparative analysis shows that 90% recyclingwould deliver significant benefits to Canada in comparison to business as usual: CA$500 million of annual costs avoided, 42,000 direct and indirect jobs created, and annual greenhouse gas emissions savings of 1.8Mt of CO2 eq.

About the Study

The report then describes future scenarios up to 2030, highlighting potential paths for the plastics value chain, in particular relating to end-of-life performance. The report then presents a high-level economic, environmental and social impact assessment to discuss the scenarios and their feasibility. Finally, the report introduces a review of policy measures that could be implemented to support the growth of the secondary plastics markets in Canada.

ECC funded and coordinated the study. It was conducted by a consortium the included Deloitte and Cheminfo Services.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Li-Cycle Ships First Commercial Load of Recycled Battery Material to Customer

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Li-Cycle Corp., a Ontario-based based lithium-ion battery recovery company, recently announced the maiden shipment of commercial product, containing energy metals concentrate, has been made to a customer.

Li-Cycle’s First Commercial Shipment

The shipped product comprised of cobalt, nickel and lithium recovered from lithium-ion batteries and was produced at Li-Cycle’s processing facility in Ontario, Canada.

“The first shipment of commercial product marks a significant milestone for Li-Cycle, on the Company‘s path to becoming a premier resource recovery company and processor, handling all types of lithium-ion batteries from a broad set of customers and applications,” commented Ajay Kochhar, President and CEO of Li-Cycle. “As we grow our business, we look forward to continuing to provide sustainable and technologically innovative solutions to solve our global customers’ end-of-life lithium-ion battery challenges.”

Li-Cycle Technology uses a combination of mechanical size reduction and hydro-metallurgical resource recovery specifically designed for lithium-ion battery recycling. The technology can do so with a recovery rate of 80 to 100% of all materials.

Li-Cycle’s core business model is to build, own, and operate lithium-ion battery recycling plants tailored to regional needs.

Regional District of Nanaimo new waste diversion initiatives include mattress recycling

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As reported in the Parksville Qualicum News, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is working to implement new waste management initiatives, including mattress recycling, that will help the municipality reach its goal of 90 percent waste diversion from landfill.

The new waste diversion initiatives focus on the strategies of reduce, reuse and recycle. They include zero-waste kits, compost giveaways, non-stewarded residential household hazardous waste collection and mattress recycling.

As more communities focus on banning single-use plastics and other items, there is a demand for reusable items. The RDN is introducing “ReThink Waste” branded zero-waste kits that include reusable produce bags; reusable cloth snack bags and reusable straws. The plan is to offer these as prizes and giveaways throughout the year at RDN and affiliated community events.

The Solid Waste Services Department for the RDN owns and operates the Regional Landfill, Church Road Transfer Station and provides residential garbage collection and recycling service to more than 29,000 households in the region. The RDN has made a long-term commitment to achieving Zero Waste, reducing garbage, conserving resources, reducing greenhouse gases and creating a more sustainable region.

Mattress Recycling

Mattresses have a compaction rate 400% less than regular garbage, thus making them a problem in all landfills. Recycling mattresses in other Canadian jurisdictions has had mixed success.

The mattresses collected by the RDN are recycled by Recycle Matter. Recycle Matters is an INEO Employment Services Job Creation Partnership (JCP). INEO is an organization that provides work for individuals who normally would not gain employment within the community. The JCP was also funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

As of November 8th of last year, the RDN diverted 710 mattresses from the landfill for recycling by Recycle Matters.

Recycle Matters employs three individuals (two general labourers and one business/office administrator) to work with a supervisor and the project manager to set-up a mattress recycling facility.

The company salvages parts of the mattress such as springs, foam and textiles that are shipped out to companies for re- purposing. Up to 95 percent of the mattress can be recycled.

With respect to mattresses, the RDN has a surcharge for mattresses and box springs of $15 per unit.