Quebec borough shoots for zero waste
A new industrial composter is expected to bring the borough of Verdun, Quebec, closer to its goal of zero waste in municipal buildings. The Montreal borough expects the composter to process 175 metric tonnes of waste and 70 tonnes of compost each year. It is the second phase of the borough’s initiative to reduce landfill waste. Verdun already cut back on collection to once weekly for recyclables and waste, also reducing bulky item pick-up to once a month. While recycling rates have gone up from 47 per cent to 53 per cent, food leftovers and green waste still make up nearly 45 per cent of residential waste.
The composter, located in the municipality’s greenhouses, is expected to help the borough achieve its goal, while also cutting back on landfill transportation and waste processing expenses. Organic materials will come from the borough’s municipal buildings, as well as some local suppliers. The project will also determine if other Montreal boroughs could install similar composters.
This news item first appeared in our affiliate news service www.EcoLogcom (9/22/2009)
High Ontario paper packaging diversion rate
Almost 70 per cent of the paper packaging entering Ontario households was sent for recycling in 2008, according to statistics recently released by Blue Box industry funding organization, Stewardship Ontario.
The numbers are released every year and are based on a combination of waste audits of what householders put out for recycling or garbage, and reports by companies on what materials they place into the residential marketplace. A non-crown corporation set up by the provincial government, Waste Diversion Ontario, vets the process.
“This is a very good result for paper packaging,” says John Mullinder, head of the industry’s environmental council, PPEC. “Not many people realize that the average recycled content of the paper packaging we supply to the Canadian marketplace is 66 per cent.”
Old corrugated boxes are now the most widely recovered of all Blue Box materials with an amazing recovery rate of 92 per cent, up 15 percentage points on the previous data year. Industrial recycling of corrugated is also very good, says the environmental council, perhaps as high as 80 per cent. “To put corrugated recycling in perspective,” says Mullinder, “just one large supermarket chain in Ontario sends more than four times as many old corrugated boxes for recycling than all the municipalities of Ontario combined.”
The lighter weight boxboard carton commonly used to deliver cereals and foodstuffs, also does well in the latest survey, increasing its recovery rate from 58 per cent to 65 per cent. “These cartons are mostly 100 per cent recycled content in the first place,” says Mullinder, “and in fact Ontario pioneered the further recycling of this material almost 20 years ago. It does present problems at the reprocessing stage, but to have some 65 per cent of it diverted from landfill is really good.” Visit www.ppec-paper.com
Our latest TV program focuses on organics
Our TV program “Going Green for Green” introduces the audience to some leading-edge practices in the business of turning organic waste into profit. The program is the latest in our series hosted by Michael Lavelle. Look in the Multimedia box at www.solidwastemag.com
GHG calculator at RCA conference
Environment Canada’s GHG Calculator for Waste Management was presented at the Recycling Council of Alberta’s conference “Green for Gold.” This workshop, led by representatives from Environment Canada and ICF International, provided hands-on exposure to using the calculator. Environment Canada created the GHG Calculator for Waste Management to help municipalities and other users estimate GHG emission reductions from different waste management practices, including recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion (a treatment that digests organic waste in the absence of oxygen), combustion, and landfilling. The calculator helps users construct two distinct scenarios (baseline and alternative) for managing the same quantity and composition of municipal solid waste. The calculator then automatically calculates the GHG emissions and energy savings that will result from implementing the alternative scenario. Other information such as landfill gas recovery practices, and the transportation distance can also be entered into the calculator. For example, the calculator could be used to assess the GHG emission reductions that will occur when a municipality begins to compost organic waste instead of sending it to landfill, or the benefits of expanding municipal curb-side recycling programs. Visit www.recycle.ab.ca
New report on waste and climate change
The garbage filling our trashcans is also changing our global climate, according to complimentary reports released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Product Policy Institute (PPI). The EPA Report reveals that 37 percent of United States total greenhouse gas emissions result from the provision and use of goods produced within the U.S. “Goods” includes all consumer products and packaging, including building components and passenger vehicles. “Provision and use” includes all activities from resource extraction, manufacturing, and transport to use and disposal. A supplemental white paper, released by PPI and written by the lead technical author of the EPA report, tells an even more surprising story. When emissions of products made abroad and consumed here are included, and exports are subtracted, products and packaging account for 44 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The PPI report adds the full global impact to the data published in the EPA report.
“These reports prove that implementing product stewardship programs in the U.S. will result in the greatest reduction of our carbon footprint,” said Heidi Sanborn, executive director of the California Product Stewardship Council, an organization of local governments working for EPR policy in California. “The reports show that EPR should be included in every climate action plan.”
EPA Report, Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Through Land and Materials Management: www.epa.gov/oswer/docs/ghg_land_and_materials_management. pdf
PPI White Paper, Products, Packaging and US Greenhouse Gas Emissions, www.productpolicy.org/content/climate-change-epr
Ontario approves HHW plan
Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen has approved the consolidated Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program Plan (Phases 1, 2 & 3), to start July 2010. The plan is pursuant to section 26 of the Waste Diversion Act, 2002, and the plan was submitted July 31, 2009 by Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO). The stewardship program puts Ontario at the leading edge of special waste management in North America. The minister’s approval letter (dated September 22) may be found at the Stewardship Ontario website, www.stewardshipontario.ca/mhsw/plan/plan.html
Battery stewardship news
Several important developments in the realm of battery stewardship have occurred recently. Call2Recycle(r), the only free rechargeable battery and cell phone collection program in North America, and the non-profit Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) have released the results of a study on battery recycling metrics.
The report, “Battery Performance Metrics: Recommendations for Best Practice,” examines differing ways that stewardship performance is gauged and offers g
uidance that policy makers, manufacturers and program participants can use to evaluate and strengthen battery collection initiatives.
Currently, governments and businesses use a variety of methodologies to calculate collection and participation rates. These different methodologies result in discrepancies in reported metrics and the perceived success of programs. Call2Recycle and PSI hope this report will open a dialogue that leads to common metrics and greater access to data to evaluate the performance of battery collection programs.
“Measuring performance is critical to collecting and recycling more batteries,” said Scott Cassel, executive director of Product Stewardship Institute. “This study is meant to motivate all key stakeholders to reach a consensus on performance measures with an emphasis on a collection rate target supported by convenience measures, per capita collection rates and wider sustainability metrics.”
Call2Recycle and PSI support the assembly of an advisory panel of experts to research, discuss and seek consensus on measuring performance, setting ambitious performance goals, and maximizing battery collection and recycling. The Battery Performance Metrics report is available at www.productstewardship. us
In Canada, call2Recycle(r) and the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation of Canada (RBRCC) have advised that their draft plan for a battery stewardship program has been published, and a series of public consultation sessions were held during the first week of October 2009. Visit www.call2recycle.org/british-columbia
DEWALT, a leading manufacturer of industrial power tools, announced a national battery-recycling program that will take place at DEWALT’s 82 service centers nationwide throughout the months of October and November. DEWALT, in conjunction with the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC), hopes to encourage the thousands of professional contractors who rely on its Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni- MH) and Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries on a daily basis to aid in helping the environment by recycling old units.
Through the program users who recycle their Ni-Cd, Ni-MH or Li-Ion DEWALT power tool batteries at one of the company’s service centers will receive a $10 discount to put toward their next DEWALT battery purchase. Visit www.call2recycle.orgAlso, see article on lithium battery recycling markets, page 46.