In British Columbia, the new Rebate of Waste Management Fees Regulation under the Waste Management Act takes effect on January 1, 2001. The new regulation permits the environment minister to refund fees under the Wood Residue Burner and Incinerator Regulation in order to promote investment in value-added alternatives to the simple disposal of burned wood waste. The amount of the rebate is the amount of the fee increase for the calendar year, up to a maximum of 110 per cent.
B.C. has also released its twentieth report on non-compliance that identifies fifty-nine operations that failed to meet environmental standards during the period April 1, 1999 to September 30, 1999. (The report reveals operations that failed to comply with permits, approvals, orders, waste management plans, operational certificates and regulations.) The report indicates that compliance by municipal sewage plants has significantly improved from previous reports.
Ontario, in the interim
In Ontario, an interim report has been released by the Waste Diversion Organization (WDO). The report suggests that banning organics from landfills may be the only way to achieve the provincial government’s objective to divert 50 per cent of waste from landfill. The report calls for an immediate ban on leaf and yard waste, to be followed by a general ban on all organic waste. Although the WDO mandate is restricted to residential waste, ramifications for the industrial, commercial and institutional sector exist if a ban is implemented. The Ontario Waste Management Association has submitted a response to the WDO recommendations.
“B.C.’s non-compliance report identifies 59 operations that failed to meet environmental standards.”
The WDO report notes that Ontario residents diverted a total of 29 per cent or 1.23 million tonnes of residential waste from disposal in 1998 and that, under current conditions, province-wide municipal waste diversion will likely plateau at slightly over 30 per cent. The WDO recommendations are intended to achieve approximately 44 per cent diversion within a five-year period.
The WDO indicates that the 50 per cent diversion goal is an “extraordinary challenge” and would require significant new investment and infrastructure. For example: aggressive technical, communication and financial support; wide-spread adoption of user fees and bag limits; regulations to ban organic wastes from landfills; and, significant separation of waste for recovery (i.e., food, yard, newspapers, magazines, printed papers and packaging).
Quebec is tire’d out
Quebec’s proposals for regulation with respect to solid waste were detailed in the June/July and August/September editions. The regulations, which have now been finalized, are intended to reduce landfill waste and satisfy the Waste Management Action Plan, which committed Quebec to reduce landfill waste by 65 per cent over 1999 levels by 2008. The regulations will result in the closure of most of Quebec’s used tire dumps, ban the establishment of new tire dumps and will prohibit expansion of current sites. Companies that operate a used tire site under a valid permit may continue to operate until June 30, 2002 at the latest, but permit holders may no longer accept tires from outside the province. The regulations also include interim deadlines — 20 per cent of tires onsite as of August 24, 2000 must be cleared before December 31, 2003 and 50 per cent must be cleared before December 31, 2005.
Operators have until February 24, 2001 to forward the environment minister a description of the measures planned for site closure and restoration. The plan must then be approved. The regulations also deal with fire prevention and emergency planning, and require submission of detailed fire and emergency response plans to the ministries of environment and public security, and local officials.
In addition to regulatory changes, a funding program administered by Recyc-Qubec, the province’s recycling council, will result in the use of scrap tires from tire dumps at acceptable recycling or energy recovery centres. Such centres are exempt under the regulations from phase-out, provided they hold valid approvals under the Environment Quality Act. The funding is open to Recyc-Qubec-accredited operations. The recycler must have a letter from a tire dump stating its intent to deliver a pre-established volume of scrap tires and the recycler must outline its recycling plan for the tires, which must be approved by Recyc-Qubec. The funding program will last until December 31, 2008 and is subsidized by the $3 per tire levy imposed on new tires since October 1, 1999.
A report released through the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) shows that transfers offsite for disposal fell to 88,489 tonnes — a drop of almost 10 per cent from the previous year and the first drop in a number of years. The 1998 report is also the first one to include figures on NPRI substances that are transferred offsite for recycling, and indicates that more than 245,748 tonnes of NPRI substances were recycled in 1998 and another 13,087 tonnes were used as fuel for energy recovery. These figures indicate that recycling of NPRI substances outweighs disposal by a factor of 2.8 to one.