Yukon Territory has issued its first set of regulations to govern solid waste management. The new Solid Waste Regulations, promulgated under the Environment Act, came into force on January 26, 2000 and govern all landfill operations. The regulations require owners of residential waste disposal facilities and commercial landfills to obtain permits. Smaller, private landfills will be exempt, but must meet certain operating standards.
Permit holders must maintain records on the waste treatment processes at the facility, the volume of waste received and the results of surface and groundwater tests. Owners will have to develop a 10-year solid waste management plan to address design, construction, operation, upgrading, closure and post-closure. The government will maintain a publicly accessible register of permit holders.
In British Columbia, a recent tracking report prepared by the Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC) under contract to the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks shows that the amount of solid waste disposed of per capita in 1997-1998 was down 36 per cent from 1990 figures. Although the amount going to landfills has decreased, the report says that further effort is required to meet the national 50 per cent reduction target.
“During the first phase of the WDO consultation, stakeholders have an opportunity to comment on solutions for a long-term funding formula.”
The RCBC monitors the amount of solid waste disposed, whether landfilled or incinerated, in each regional district and the province as a whole. The report also addresses the quantity and types of materials recycled (where such information is available). The statistics should improve next year as a result of the amendments to B.C.’s Beverage Container Stewardship Program.
In a previous article, the creation and objectives of the Waste Diversion Organization (WDO) in Ontario were described. (See the April/May edition.) Recently, the WDO invited various stakeholders to participate in a consultation process on municipal recycling program funds described in Guiding Principles for Development of a Long Term Sustainable Funding Formula for Residential Materials Recycling Programs and the background document Points of Discussion.
During the first phase of the consultation, stakeholders have an opportunity to comment on solutions for a long-term funding formula. Such elements include appropriate benchmarks, mechanisms to promote diversion and program efficiency and regional variation issues. The second phase of the process provides an opportunity to comment in writing on the draft report to the environment minister.
The Quebec government provides financial support to several waste initiatives, $610,800 of which it allocates to three recycling organizations this year. Plate-Form CPT — which uses rubber crumb from tires recycled in Quebec to produce flooring — receives $300,000 to modernize equipment and increase floor space. Les Entreprises de Rcupration du Saguenay receives $300,000 to open a reuse centre for electrical equipment and furniture. And the Centre …mersion Manicouagan Inc. will receive $10,800 to focus on the recovery of reusable materials from construction, demolition and renovation activities.
CEC reclassifies recyclables
The Commission for Environmental Co-operation — which deals with environmental issues under the North American Free Trade Agreement — has proposed rule changes that would reclassify industry byproducts recycled offsite as “pollutant transfers.” Canada’s largest steel recycler, Co-Steel Lasco, has expressed concern and says there should be no difference between recycling an industrial by-product into a useful product at the plant site or at another location. At a cost of approximately $1-million per year, Co-Steel now sends its electrical arc furnace dust to a specialty recycler in the U.S. instead of to landfill, as was previously done.
“The State of Massachusetts prohibits the incineration or dumping of computer monitors and televisions in landfill sites.”
(See article in the October/November edition.) The dust contains zinc, which is recovered as a marketable commodity, and reduces its transfers by 95 per cent. The Recycling Council of Ontario is also looking at the matter, and may comment on the proposed changes.
There have been limited developments in Canada related to the disposal of what is commonly referred to as “electronic trash.” This waste consists of items such as computer screens, which are viewed as potentially serious environmental hazards. Environment Canada has contracted Toronto, Ontario-based Enviros-RIS to perform a study of electronic trash in Canada. It has been estimated that as many as 1.5-million computers will be discarded this year.
In the U.S., the State of Massachusetts prohibits the incineration or dumping of computer monitors and televisions in landfill sites, but there are no such requirements in Canada. The United Kingdom’s Industrial Council for Electronic Recycling recently released a report that discusses the reduction of electronic equipment sent to landfill sites or for incineration. It will be interesting to track whether Canada focuses on this significant issue.