Solid Waste & Recycling


News (July 01, 2003)

FCM waste toolThe Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) recently launched the project "How to Manage Waste as a Resource" to help municipal leaders and waste managers adopt innovative approaches...

FCM waste tool

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) recently launched the project “How to Manage Waste as a Resource” to help municipal leaders and waste managers adopt innovative approaches to reduce waste and minimize inefficiencies in material use. The complete guide, which the FCM will release in mid-2003, consists of four documents that provide a comprehensive resource management planning process. The guide, developed by RIS International Ltd., Lura Consulting and EarthTech Canada, will enable waste managers to play their part in sending signals to producers and markets to reduce waste and manage the discarded materials in a manner that supports sustainable communities.

Contact Maria Kelleher at 905-660-9892 or

Calgary lassos plastic bags

In April 2003, the City of Calgary began accepting plastic bag waste for recycling at all 45 residential recycling depots. The goals is to divert plastic from landfill and create a composite building product. Plastic bags accepted include: grocery bags, shopping bags, sandwich or lunch bags, bread bags, clothing/garment bags, and bubble wrap (bags should be clean and free of debris). Exceptions include potato chip bags, or other bags with similar foil material. Calgary-based Merlin Plastics will process the material into flakes, mix them with sawdust and make a type of building product.

A pilot program was in place for the past year in which plastic bags were collected at three recycling depots and 10,555 kilograms of plastic bags were collected. The success of the program was so great that the city decided to expand it across the city. However, the city is still searching for a plastic recycler that is able to handle a large volume of mixed plastics, such as yogurt, margarine and shampoo containers.

Call Karen Spelay at 403-230-6632

NS protest plastic bottles

Thousands of plastic pop bottles were strewn along the street in front of Province House in Nova Scotia on May 13, 2003, as frustrated recyclers demanded a bigger share of container recycling revenues. The 87 Enviro-Depots, members of the Eastern Recyclers Association (ERA), claim that they are under-funded, and that the quantity of funds allotted to recycling depots should be increased. The Resource Recovery Fund Board (RRFB) is contracted with the provincial government to administer the deposit refund program. The depots sort through an average of 2.6 million containers a year each, earning about $77,000 with which to pay rent, salaries and taxes. The reallocation of funds would probably require the municipalities to give up a portion of their $7-million share. The province also receives about $1-million per year from net revenues for enforcement of regulations.

The recyclers are calling on the RRFB to reallocate funds in order for the depot system to be viable. A recent study shows that depots currently receive 2.95 cents per container but that 4.2 cents is needed to be viable. Acknowledging the price adjustment would be challenging at first, the recyclers have offered to start at 3.3 cents, which would still give Nova Scotia the distinction of having the second lowest handling fees in Canada (after New Brunswick).

Call the NS Department of Environment and Labour at 902-424-4300

New B.C. waste board

More representatives from local recycling-related businesses are expected to make this year’s board of the B.C.-based Coast Waste Management Association (CWMA) even more focused on the private sector. The CWMA is a multi-stakeholder organization representing businesses, government and nonprofits on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands of B.C. For the first time, businesses dominate the new CWMA board of directors, with five of eight positions. Joining the CWMA board this year are Bonnie Turner of Harper’s Recycling in Duncan, B.C. and Jason Adams of reFUSE in Saanich, B.C. Jerry Kupiak of SunCoast Waste Systems in Parksville, B.C. is returning to the board after a four-year absence. Re-elected are: Reid Hudson of Budget Steel in Victoria, B.C.; John Craveiro of the CRD in Victoria, B.C.; Mike Schellinck of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange in Nanaimo, B.C.; Janet LeBlancq of Hornby Island Recycling in Hornby Island; and, John Beute of International Paper Industries in Nanaimo, B.C.

Contact Andy Telfer at 250-752-8293 or

PEI processor charged

Environment Canada charged Charlottetown, PEI-based Cavendish Farms for allegedly allowing potato leachate from an organic waste disposal site to enter a nearby brook that flows into the Barbara Weit River during May 2002. Under the Fisheries Act, it’s an offense to deposit, or to permit the deposition of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish. Ronald Chow, Cavendish Farms’ operating manager, also faces charges related to the incident. A court date has been set for August 23, 2003.

Call Roger Percy at 902-426-1925

Guelph wet-dry enters third phase

Phase Three of the Wet-Dry+ (Wet-Dry Plus) program in Guelph, Ontario officially began on April 21, 2003. During Phase Three, improperly sorted waste will no longer be collected at curbside on collection day. However, residents can continue to call the Wet-Dry Plus information line with sorting or pick-up questions and continue to request a curbside advisor come to their home for assistance. The current system is a three-sort, all-bagged system in which wet compostable materials are kept separate from dry recyclables and both are bagged. Residents place non-compostable and non-recyclable materials in a third bag. Some reports say that the city has been challenged to achieve a smooth implementation due to a city decision to have collectors leave behind bags of materials not properly sorted. With an initial compliance of about 60 per cent, some bags remained on the curb for days.

Call 519-767-0598 or e-mail

Ontario scrap tire cleanup

On April 16, 2003, Ontario Environment Minister Chris Stockwell announced that the Ontario Government will invest $1-million to clean up stockpiled tire sites to help reduce potential fire hazards and potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus. In separate letters to the WDO board of directors, the minister requested that WDO develop a diversion program for used tires and used oil material, and establish Industry Funding Organizations (IFOs) made up of brand owners and importers of tires and oil. The IFOs and WDO are to work with stakeholders to develop these diversion plans and submit them to the minister for approval. Approximately 11 million used tires are generated in Ontario each year, about 4.5 million of which are recycled and used for such things as automotive parts, playground and sports surfaces, running tracks, loading dock bumpers and mats, and road construction.

The WDO and the two IFOs are expected to deliver used oil and used tire programs to the minister by November 30, 2003, and January 30, 2004, respectively. Regulations designating used tires (O.Reg. 84/03) and used oil, oil filters and oil containers (O.Reg. 85/03) are currently posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights web site. (See the tire recycling feature in the April/May edition.)

Call John Steele at 416-314-6666

New Brunswick supports sustainability

In celebration of Earth Day, Environment and Local Government Minister Kim Jardine announced the recipients of the 2003-2004 New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund (ETF) awards on April 22, 2003. A total of 214 projects will receive about $5-million in assistance. The New Brunswick beverage containers recycli

ng program generates funds for the ETF. Those eligible for funding include: community, regional and provincial-based environmental groups/ organizations; New Brunswick municipalities and business improvement areas; national environmental organizations requesting assistance to undertake projects within New Brunswick; and non-profit organizations and institutions that are furthering sustainable development. The awards cover six categories: beautification, conservation, education, protection, restoration and sustainable development.

A list of the awards is linked to or call Christelle Lger at 506-453-3700

Unisphere to develop scrap tire recycling system

On April 14, 2003, Unisphere Waste Conversion Ltd. of Toronto, Ontario announced that it has engaged Kingsdale Capital Markets Inc. as its exclusive agent for a $10-million private placement offering scheduled to close on May 27, 2003. Unisphere plans to construct its inaugural tire derived products facility in the Port of Belledune, New Brunswick. The closed loop system combines Unisphere’s state of the art tire shredding equipment and a Finnish-based Metso Minerals’ patented rotary kiln tire pyrolysis technology and proprietary oil condensing system that produces marine diesel, off road diesel and burner fuel. The systems aims to produce economically viable, reusable raw materials and recovered tire derived products.

Call 416-966-4555

Toronto waste woes

Trucks hauling Toronto garbage to Michigan landfills were delayed for several hours from crossing borders into the U.S. on May 21, 2003, following a U.S. agricultural ban on Canadian beef imports due to a “mad cow” scare in Alberta. (“Mad cow” is another name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a chronic, degenerative disorder affecting the central nervous system of cattle.) There was initially fear that the Toronto waste might contain meat scraps contaminated with mad cow but trucks were later given the go-ahead to cross the border. The trans-border hauling of waste has become a political issue over the past year, after Toronto arranged to send its waste to Michigan, and again when the amount increased due to the closure of Keele Valley Landfill. But U.S. politicians have so far haven’t found a way to ban imported waste that doesn’t unconstitutionally restrain trade or violate NAFTA treaties.

Although there were several hours of delays at the Windsor and Sarnia border crossings, police reported that they were mostly due to the start of an “orange alert” issued against terrorism that occurred around the same time as the Canadian beef ban.

Call Angelos Bocopoulos at 416-392-8301

The City of Toronto initiated a comprehensive campaign to curb street trash by getting tough on litterbugs. Under the “Don’t Trash Toronto” campaign, launched on May 8, 2003, the city is planning to clean up the city this summer and penalize polluters. The campaign includes: an advertising promotion in June to raise awareness about responsible waste disposal methods; a more efficient reworking of the collection schedule for litter pickers and litter vacuums; extended summer pickup hours; one thousand new waste bins; and, the addition of nine bylaw enforcement officers. Also along the lines of tougher enforcement, there will be an enforcement blitz launched in mid-May with a request of Justices of the Peace to more strictly enforce the $130 fine provision of the city-littering bylaw. The city currently spends about 90 per cent of its $16-million street waste budget dealing with ground litter (some of that is offset by advertising revenue from the large metal bins, which earned the city about $500,000 last year). The Toronto Board of Trade and the Toronto Association of Business improvement Areas (TABIA) are two of the several corporate bodies supporting this campaign.

Call 416-39-CLEAN

In other news, a bit of media controversy attended statements by Liberal MPP David Ramsay in the Ontario legislature on May 7, 2003 that the Cortellucci-Montemarano Group quietly bought partial ownership of the Adams Mine site in Northern Ontario and is seeking arrangements that would allow it to turn the mine into a waste disposal facility. Mr. Ramsay alleged that the government plans to sell Crown land to one of the largest donators of the Progressive Conservative Party without public notice and at allegedly low market prices. However, at the Municipal Waste Integration Network (MWIN) conference in Markham, Ontario on June 6, Adams Mine owner Gordon McGuinty said that there was no secret deal and that the Mr. Cortellucci is only a minority shareholder of just one of 10 stakeholders in the newly reformed Adams Mine consortium.

The Adams Mine site, located southeast of Kirkland Lake, could receive a maximum of 20 million tonnes of non-hazardous solid waste from Ontario over a 20-year period. The project received environmental approval on August 13, 1998.

Contact Gordon McGuinty at 705-495-6411 or 1-866-363-9197

Toronto seeks new technologies to manage residual solid waste

On June 2, 2003, the City of Toronto issued a Request for Expressions of Interest seeking new and emerging technologies, policies and practices to process and divert from landfill the residual solid waste remaining after diversion programs such as the Blue Box, Green Bin organics processing and leaf and yard waste composting. This represents up to 40 per cent of the municipal solid waste stream. The city seeks technologies that may incorporate physical, biological, chemical and/or advanced thermal processes. The city is not interested in incineration technologies or landfill capacity.

The Request for Expressions of Interest document (#9155-03-7283) is available on the City’s web site at:

Responses must be received prior to 12:00 noon EDST on July 14, 2003. Additional project information is available on the city’s web site at: involved/swm/net

Contact Guy Perry at 416-397-0206 or

FCM report on management of discarded electronics

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) national consultation on the municipal management of discarded electronics was recently completed. During the period of January to March 2003, the FCM, with the support of Environment Canada, Industry Canada, and Natural Resources Canada, conducted a national consultative process on the management of discarded electronics. The process developed a preliminary national municipal position on the roles and responsibilities municipalities should have in managing discarded electronics in order to enhance materials recycling, promote local economic benefits and avoid potential environmental effects.

In the report, Lura Consulting outlines the FCM’s national municipal position, key collection issues, a national survey on discarded electronics, regional consultation reports, national workshop meeting notes, and a national workshop workbook. The guiding roles and responsibilities of the proposed strategy include: that collection should be a shared responsibility between industry, municipalities, retailers, and consumers; that industry should be primarily responsible for transportation tot he processor; that industry should be 100 per cent responsible for processing; and, that communications to consumers can be a shared responsibility between industry, municipalities, and retailers. The report will soon be available at the FCM web site: (Also see “Computer Crash” in the October/November 2002 edition.)

Call 613-241-5221

National cell phone recycling initiative

The Charitable Recycling Program of Canada continued to encourage
the donation of used cell phones during Canada’s Environment Week, June 1 to 7, 2003. The program helps keep cell phones (and their toxic components) out of landfills while providing a monetary contribution to charities / community groups and communication technology to people who might not otherwise afford it thought the remanufacture and reuse of donated phones. As many as eight million cell phones are retired in Canada each year. Donations can be mailed in, using a label available on the program’s web site ( Posters, sample announcement and other promotional literature are provided to program partners. The program also supplies collection bins and pays for the shipping of collected cell phones for large quantity collections.

Contact Wendy Weis at 905-830-9607 or

Philip Services files for bankruptcy protection

Philip Services Corp. (PSC), with headquarters in Houston, Texas announced on June 3, 2003 that the company and most of its wholly owned U.S. subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The existing debt is too high for the businesses, according to Robert Knauss, Philip’s chair and principal executive officer, but service to customers will continue as the company explores strategic alternatives. The company will pursue the sale of all or substantially all the assets of the company as a going concern pursuant to Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code. A final hearing on the cash collateral funding has been set for June 23, 2003.

PSC has two operating groups: PSC Industrial Services, which provides industrial cleaning and environmental services, and PSC Metals Services, which provides scrap charge optimization, inventory management, scrap sourcing, and industrial scrap removal. (See the upcoming features on “Construction & Demolition Waste” in the August/September 2003 edition.)

Contact Michael Ramirez at 713-625-7047 or

Canada commits to protect biodiversity

Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) was formally proclaimed into law on June 5, 2003. The legislation will help ensure the conservation and preservation of the country’s biological diveristy by providing more thorough assessments and recovery processes for species at risk. The Act is one component of a three-part strategy, which also includes the Habitat Stewardship Program and the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk. Most of the Act’s provisions take effect immediately, while others will be phased in to take effect in June 2004. Waste management facilities should make themselves aware of any potentially endangered or threatened species that may use land they own. Industry stakeholders are advised to conduct wildlife audits of land they are considering for purchase as well as the flora and fauna that exist on the land. (See “Wild, Wild Life” in the August/September 2000 edition.)

Visit the SARA registry web site at

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