Solid Waste & Recycling

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (April 01, 2000)

Mercury risingThanks for your views on recycling of fluorescent lamps (December/January editorial). As a company that has the first full recycling process for fluorescent lamps in Canada we can apprec...


Mercury rising

Thanks for your views on recycling of fluorescent lamps (December/January editorial). As a company that has the first full recycling process for fluorescent lamps in Canada we can appreciate how many companies are still reluctant to pay the small cost of recycling to insure this product does not end up in the landfill.

Tom Harris

General Manager

Nu Life Industries Inc.

Tharris@direct.ca

Hot-wiring Strathroy

(Re: December/January cover story.) Good stuff! I remember when I was editor of a weekly small-town newspaper and this kind of friend-of-a-friend-of-a-buddy-nudge-wink style of business was pretty much the rule for anything involving local politics. It’s nice to see someone digging it up and airing it out. An article like yours will go a lot further than we might think in cleaning it up.

David Dehaas

Editor

OHS Canada magazine

Aerosol recycling

On behalf of CSR: Corporations Supporting Recycling and the National Aerosol Recycling Project, I would like to respond to the letter for “Under Pressure” in the December/January 2000 edition. This letter leaves the impression that recycling aerosols is hazardous and that only the author of the letter, The Recycle Systems Company Inc., is capable of doing the job.

Millions of aerosols have been safely recycled in Canadian municipal recycling programs over the past eight years. As a result, more and more municipalities are including aerosols in the long list of items recycled through curbside programs. Residents have embraced these programs knowing that they can simply add empty aerosol cans to their recyclables and have these valuable cans processed into new steel products rather than dumped into landfill. Municipalities are able to include empty aerosol cans within the bundles of steel cans sold to mills for processing. On average, aerosols occupy about two per cent of a steel bale. It’s a simple, safe and cost-effective process.

The accidents mentioned in the letter were not connected with recycling operations but with industrial de-packaging. The Ontario Ministry of Labour’s report on the 1997 accident at Wel-Chem Environmental Services Inc. detailed the accident that resulted from improper handling of aerosols during a de-packaging process. Unfortunately, Wel-Chem was loading full aerosol containers, not post-consumer used containers, into steel drums and then shredding the entire barrel, containers and all. According to the Ministry of Labour, this procedure was carried out without proper ventilation and within proximity of some six potential ignition sources.

Likewise, the Montreal, Quebec-based company was a de-packaging operation. On the day of the accident at 3R Environmental, Inc., the company was handling two large palettes of stale-dated commercial aerosols. Investigation of the accident noted that in the de-packaging room vapours exceeded limits due to an almost non-existent exhaust system in the plant. Improper equipment was being used to process full aerosol containers in concentrated batches. The air in the plant was so poor that workers were having difficulty breathing even while wearing ventilation masks. The investigators said the explosion either resulted from the electric motor on the bailer, or the bailer running empty, which caused the metal to spark.

We want to emphasize that there has never been an accident reported in a municipal material recovery facility recycling aerosol containers. Handling post-consumer empty cans is not dangerous and has become an accepted practice in more than 5,000 North American communities — a practice that supports the initiatives of sustainable municipal waste management.

Damian L. Bassett

President and CEO

CSR: Corporations Supporting Recycling

Congrats

I publish a British Columbia newspaper about water-related issues. I found your web site (www.solidwastemag.com) while searching for information for an IC&I solid waste strategy I’m developing for the Fraser Valley Regional District in B.C. Your information is great and I love the cover art. Good work! Keep it up!

Joanne Howery

Alliance Professional Services

Winfield, British Columbia

jhowery@silk.net

Caught NaPPing

A great article (October/November 1999 cover story). It reinforced what old pro package developers already knew: that the original plan was like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. If the National Packaging Protocol (NaPP) plan was indeed effective why haven’t we seen action on “bag and box” restrictions, gable top milk cartons replaced with bags only (or better still, glass bottles), vacuum or filter packs of coffee in either glass jars or metal cans? All replacements would reduce packaging material costs as well as reduce the volume and weight of packaging. Most packaging was proposed by suppliers in the first place and readily adopted by marketers who saw the cartons as convenient billboards. Germany’s Green Dot program would be a real start but first we should have an impartial assessment, not by NaPP.

Bill Tuer

bill.tuer@sympatico.ca

Send your letters to cvitello@corporate. southam.ca


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