B.C. Municipality considering N.S. waste technology

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Nova Scotia-based Sustane Technologies is being considered as the waste management solution provider for The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) in British Columbia.

As reported in the Cowichan Valley Citizen, The CVRD has decided to participate in an initiative to monitor and study how the new and innovative Sustane Technologies Waste Management facility, located in Chester, Nova Scotia, deals with its waste.

The CVRD has a population of 83,739 residents that reside in four unique municipalities It covers a land area of 3,473.12 km2 on the east coast of Vancouver Island and includes several Gulf Islands, including Thetis, Kuper, and Valdes.

The CVRD is governed by a 15 member board comprised of appointed directors from four municipalities, the Town of Lake Cowichan, the Town of Ladysmith, the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan (North Cowichan has three appointees based upon population) and an elected director from each of the nine electoral areas.

Sustane Technologies claims to have developed a set of disruptive separation technologies to transform municipal solid wastes (MSW) to high value fuels and recyclable materials at lower cost than landfilling.

Sustane’s first-ever North American facility in Nova Scotia, which has a capacity of 70,000 tonnes per year of solid waste, is undergoing its final tests and operations are anticipated to begin this year.

Sustane Technologies Facility, Chester, Nova Scotia

The CVRD will join the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Comox Valley Regional District in the performance monitoring program at the facility, at a cost to the district of $4,100.

“Like the CVRD, other regional districts on the island are interested in viable technologies to transform residual waste to marketable reusable products,” said Tauseef Waraich, the CVRD’s manager of recycling and waste management, in a report to the board.

“Since this is the first ever facility of its kind in North America, it is important to monitor the performance to determine its viability for local regional districts on the island.”

Since the closure in the late 1990s of the three incinerators and the regional landfill in the CVRD, the district has been in search of viable disposal solutions for its solid waste.

Waraich said the three incinerators were considered state-of-the-art facilities when they were constructed, but by the late 1990s, studies indicated they were adversely impacting the local air quality and their licences to operate were pulled by the province.

As for the landfill, Waraich said the old one was filled to capacity and no location within the CVRD could be identified for a new one.

Currently, the region does not have a disposal option for its solid waste other than export it to the Rabanco Landfill in Roosevelt, U.S. The CVRD relies on a central waste transfer station at Bings Creek as well as two satellite facilities at Peerless Road and Meade Creek for regional waste collection and transfer to the Rabanco Landfill.

The CVRD currently produces approximately 94,000 tonnes of waste per year, with about 64 per cent recycled or composted.

The district’s solid waste, with approximately 20,000 tonnes originating from CVRD-owned facilities and about 14,000 tonnes from other sources, is sent to landfills for disposal.

CVRD’s solid waste management plan, which was updated in 2018, has the following guiding principles:

Promote zero waste approaches and support a circular economy.

Promote the first 3Rs.

Maximize the beneficial use of waste materials and manage residuals appropriately.

Support polluter and user-pay approaches and manage incentives to maximize behaviour outcomes.

Prevent organics and recyclables from going to the garbage whenever practical.

Collaborate with other regional districts wherever possible.

Kingston to Issue RFP for a MRF

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The City of Kingston, Ontario will be issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the retrofit, design, and construction of a materials recovery facility (MRF). The drafting of the RFP began in earnest when City Council recently voted in favour of a new MRF and for the weekly collection of blue and grey boxes.

City council recently voted to have staff move forward with plans to change the way the city collects recycling. Requests for proposal are to be issued shortly for the retrofit, design and build of a new material recovery facility and for the weekly collection of blue and grey boxes.

Heather Roberts, director of solid waste services, explains the proposed changes that could come to the city’s recycling program in Kingston, Ont. on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. (Photo Credit: Elliot Ferguson/The Whig-Standard/Postmedia Network)

“Glass will be in the blue box with plastic containers and paper and other fibre products and plastic bags will still be in the grey box. So you would set out a grey box and a blue box,” explained Heather Roberts, director of solid waste services as reported by the Kingston Whig Standard.

The blue box would simply be tipped into one compartment on the side of the truck and the grey box would be dumped into another compartment on the side of the truck,” Roberts added. “Glass and paper are still going to be kept separate in those two different boxes and not stuck together.”

The city is studying a variety of ways to achieve its stated goal of diverting 65 per cent of household waste from landfills by 2025. The current waste diversion rate stands at about 60 per cent, a rate that has held steady for the past few years and is not expected to increase.

“The preferred approaches and enhancements to achieve and sustain 60 per cent waste diversion have been implemented, and the waste diversion rate is not expected to increase with the status quo,” according to a staff report.

City officials say they’re now exploring a raft of new measures in order to reach the 65 per cent target. Among the new trash disposal ideas being considered are:

  • an increase in the cost of garbage bag tags to encourage greater participation in the city’s diversion programs
  • the elimination of the existing one free bag per week and exploration of full user pay options, including a policy for low-income individuals
  • the prohibition of recyclables and organics in the garbage stream and the use of clear bags for garbage
  • a reduction in the frequency of garbage collection from weekly to every two weeks for most eligible properties
  • a limit on the number of additional tagged garbage bags permitted for collection

Other options on the table include reducing the number of special two-bag garbage weeks from three to two a year, increasing the size of the city’s blue and grey boxes, implementing the mandatory use of green bins at properties with multiple residences, eliminating fees and charges for schools that participate in the green bin organics program and providing two size options for green bins at either 45 or 80 litres.

City officials say the long list of options can be more easily adopted under the existing waste management system and will have a minimal impact on municipal budgets. They add that choosing how to proceed will be the focus of upcoming public consultations, however it will ultimately be up to city council to approve any new strategies.

According to data collected in 2017, the city handled 41,760 tonnes of household waste. Of that amount, 16,405 tonnes was sent to the landfill and 25,355 tonnes was diverted through recycling and compost programs.

Northern Canada Waste Management Update

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The City of Iqaluit, Nunavut recently began consultations on a $35 million waste plan.  Currently, a new landfill and recycling facility is planned.  Iqaluit is the capital city of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. It sits on vast Baffin Island in Frobisher Bay.

The new waste management plan the city first announced this past July, after the federal government confirmed it will put $26.6 million into the project, amounting to 75 per cent of its $35-million cost.  The remaining 25 per cent of the money will come from the city, through the block funding it receives from the Government of Nunavut.

The $35 million will pay for a new landfill proposed to be located about 8.5 kilometres northwest of Iqaluit, the closure and cleanup of the existing landfill and a waste transfer station.

The existing municipal landfill in Iqaluit was built in 1995 as a stop-gap, to be used for just five years. Until now, the city has not been able to build a new facility because of the cost, said Amy Elgersma, the city’s acting chief administrative officer, in an interview with the media on July 20th at the landfill.

The landfill foreman, Jeff McMunn, says they see over 50 truck-loads of garbage a day, from individual drop-offs and from street collection.

At the existing landfill, waste is capped with dirt, rock and gravel. If it’s not covered quickly enough, the wind can blow items away or animals can eat it. The proposed new landfill will be a bale-fill design, which involves compacting the trash into bales that are then wrapped in plastic and stacked in neat rows.

Iqaluit’s Existing Landfill (PHOTO BY COURTNEY EDGAR)

The current plan is for the to use the waste transfer station to recycle metal and tires, and to sort electronics, furniture and household items that could be offered back to residents for re-use.  The city also says only waste that cannot be re-used or recycled will be sent to the landfill site.  The city estimates that recycling at the transfer station will result in a 44 per cent reduction in waste destined for disposal at the landfill.

The recycles generated from the waste transfer station will be sent in shipping containers to southern Canadian locations for further processing.

The Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Impact Review Board must still look at the city’s plans, through an application the city was expected to make to regulators this month.  The city hopes the construction of the transfer station and landfill will start in 2019.