The landscape of trade associations in the waste and recycling sector in Canada can be a bit bewildering for newbies. (And surveys show the industry is comprised of a surprising number of young people who have been in the business for only a few years.) There are multiple associations for recycling in various provinces, such as the individual Recycling Councils for B.C., Alberta, Ontario and so on. Ontario also has the Municipal Waste Association (MWA) based in Guelph, that mostly represents municipalities, and the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA) in Brampton that mostly represents private waste service companies, plus the Ontario Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America. SWANA has chapters in different parts of the country.
For reasons related to regulation and enforcement, these associations tend to be organized provincially, with few establishing themselves as true national organizations. One exception is the Canada Compost Council (CCC), representing organics management issues and stakeholders across the country.
The other truly national association is the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI), which represents over 260 companies in the recycling sector. CARI distinguishes itself from the other associations by focusing on scrap metal — a lucrative trade with its own economic drivers that has always stood apart from the other waste-related recycling entities. (In fact, CARI’s Executive Director Len Shaw refuses to refer to recycled scrap as “waste,” preferring it be thought of as an industrial byproduct that becomes the feedstock for new products.)
Scrap recycling is a huge business. Currently about 45 per cent of the world’s 1.3 billion tonnes annual production of steel comes from scrap. Almost as much of the world’s copper production is from recycled material (as is about a third of all aluminum). Canadian recyclers process between 16 and 18 million tonnes of scarp metal each year. It’s estimated that Canadian metal recyclers employ around 40,000 people directly and another 120,000 indirectly.
According to CARI’s website, the organization was founded in 1941 “in response to an urgent call from the Canadian government for high quality scrap metal to support the War effort.” Since then, CARI has matured into an effective organization that represents everything from small family scrap yards to massive industrial plants. While members recycle all kinds of commodities, the vast majority deal primarily or exclusively in metals.
CARI works to improve the economic position of its members, engage with government on policy matters that affect the industry, and overall promote the interests of the recycling business. CARI is also very deft at creating business and social networking opportunities for its members. Among other things, it produces an annual conference, a golf tournament and a “consumer’s night.” (See below)
CARI is governed by a 12 member Board that proportionally represents all geographic regions of the country. The organization works effectively in English and French, as is attested by the text on its website and its newsletters. CARI produces two of these: The Pulse and The Prompt educating and assisting members with issues that range from better insurance rates to theft prevention (a big topic in scrap recycling) to new regulatory compliance.
For information on CARI events, contact Donna Turner at 905-426-9313. You can learn more about the Association of Recycling Industries (CARI) by visiting cari-acir.org
Guy Crittenden is Editor of this magazine. Contact Guy at email@example.com