Two prominent individuals in the waste diversion business recently issued news releases opposing the Ontario government’s recent policy changes they say are designed to make it easier for experimental waste thermal treatment projects to move ahead. The first — Tony Busseri, President and CEO of Environmental Management Solutions Inc. (EMS) — issued a statement entitled “Incineration Is Not The Answer To Ontario’s Waste Crisis: EMS” that began, “Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s announced support for incineration of the province’s waste is based on poor science and takes Ontario in the wrong direction.”
The second, from John Mullinder, Executive Director of the Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC), was entitled “Paper industry echoes concerns about burning” and described similar misgivings.
“The fact is that there is no technology that can incinerate waste without producing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Busseri. “Premier McGuinty may be intrigued by unproven technologies that may create a few research jobs, but the people of Ontario should be concerned that incineration could pump hundreds of thousands of metric tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere annually. The small amount of energy that could be produced is not worth the environmental or financial cost.”
EMS believes that Ontario is better served by more government support for a range of waste management solutions, such as reduction, recycling and more environmentally sound approaches to divert waste from landfills and incinerators. These would include composting, which can treat the solid organic waste which constitutes at least 40 per cent of Ontario’s total household solid waste. While incineration and landfills contribute to increased climate-changing greenhouse gases, composting actually absorbs and reduces carbon dioxide equivalents (eCO2) in the atmosphere. Based on the full analysis of the environmental cycle, according to EMS, to treat one metric tonne of waste, incineration produces 0.26 tonnes more eCO2 than composting and landfills add 1.04 tonnes of eCO2 more than composting.
The paper industry is concerned that burning too much garbage will sabotage Ontario’s recycling efforts because a lot of what people throw away is perfectly recyclable paper of one kind or another.
“We want all the good quality paper or board that we can get,” said PPEC’s John Mullinder. “Ontario paper mills recycle some 2.3 million tonnes of used paper or board every year, turning them into new boxes to ship Ontario products worldwide and to make recycled-content newspapers for North American publishers.
“In our view, EFW should only be used on residual materials and those that are too contaminated with food residue or chemicals to be safely used again to deliver products. Only municipalities that have met a very high recycling and composting rate should be allowed to entertain this option. The province has to step up to the plate and show some leadership on this issue, leadership based on sound science and not political ex-pediency.”
Contact Tony Busseri, President and Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Management Solutions Inc., at 905-335-2100 x22
Contact John Mullinder, Executive Director, Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC), at 416-626-0350