Nova Scotia waste reduction
Nova Scotia’s environment ministry has released Our Path Forward: Building on the Success of Nova Scotia’s Waste Resource Management Strategy, a paper that outlines the province’s strategy to reduce waste and increase recycling. The objective is to limit disposal to no more than 300 kg per person per year by 2015.
The strategy paper notes that, since 1995, the provincial waste disposal rate has decreased from 743 kilograms per person/year to 401 kilograms, and materials being recycled have increased from 11,000 tonnes in 1992 to more than 50,000 tonnes in 2010. Similarly, the composting of organics has increased from 3,000 tonnes in 1994 to more than 100,000 tonnes in 2010.
The strategy paper identifies construction and demolition (C&D) waste as an area for significant improvement. C&D accounts for 25 to 30 per cent of Nova Scotia’s total waste. The strategy paper notes that, while most C&D waste is currently diverted from disposal, there’s significant potential to increase the recycling of these materials into value-added products. In order to address this issue, the government has committed to develop guidelines around best management practices for C&D waste and to develop an education and communication plan on such practices.
The strategy paper also indicates that producers must become more responsible for waste management. In this regard, the strategy paper discusses how payment by the taxpayer for the recycling of packaging has become an accepted model, but that the public now expects that producers take responsibility for the products they create from resource extraction to disposal, recycling, or reuse. Product stewardship policies are discussed in the strategy paper and range from shared responsibility between the taxpayer and the producer for the product’s end-of-life recycling or disposal, to full manufacturer responsibility, often referred to as extended producer responsibility (EPR). See article on what BC is doing, page 54)
Quebec voluntary packaging code
Éco Entreprises Québec has launched its “Voluntary Code for the Optimization of Containers, Packaging and Printed Matter.” Éco Entreprises Québec is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to represent companies in promoting efforts to increase quantities of recovered materials, and to address responsibility for financing municipal curbside recycling.
Éco Entreprises Québec developed the Code in cooperation with several companies and eco-design experts; the Code uses a two-phase approach to packaging optimization. The first phase addresses specific business sectors that have been identified by the Quebec government’s curbside recycling compensation plan as generating significant packaging materials. These business sectors include the food, beauty and health sectors, which produce 80 per cent of the packaged products marketed in the province. The second phase will involve all business sectors included in the curbside recycling compensation plan and will take effect by 2015. Some of the first signatories of the Code are Cascades Inc., Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd., Métro Richelieu inc., and Sobeys Québec.
The Code focuses on reduction at source, eco-design and recyclability and involves seven strategies to assist companies in developing optimization initiatives. These are: life-cycle thinking; adopting responsible procurement criteria; improving packaging/product ratio; designing for transport; improving the usage scenario; improving recyclability; and communications.
Ontario enforcement for waste infractions
There have been several cases over recent months where Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment has prosecuted, convicted and fined companies for waste management violations. Halton Recycling Ltd. was recently fined $155,000 for odour emissions and for failing to have recyclables baled and stored as required by its certificate of approval. The investigation conducted by the environment ministry was triggered by odour complaints and concluded that the region was operating out of compliance with its approval.
Scott Environmental Group Limited, which operates out of Kingston, was fined $125,000 for failing to comply with conditions of a provisional CofA. The company was found to have received biosolid waste that was not acceptable, and to have received quantities of waste on a daily basis beyond that authorized by the provisional CofA.
Tonda Construction Limited in London was fined $25,000 after pleading guilty to permitting or arranging for the transportation or disposal of waste that was not part of an approved waste management system for which a certificate of approval had been issued. Another company, Nethercott Excavating Limited, was fined $8,000 after pleading guilty to operating a waste management system without a CofA. Tonda had contracted with Nethercott to deal with the cleanup and disposal of contaminated soil, but Nethercott did not have a valid CofA to handle and transport the waste.
Finally, Century Group Inc. in Mississauga was fined $3,000 after pleading guilty to failing to prepare a waste reduction work plan. In 2010, the company started a project in Thunder Bay that involved the construction of a store and warehouse for a furniture business. The environment ministry inspected the project and found the company hadn’t prepared a waste reduction work plan. Century Group was advised to comply, but a further inspection revealed that the company had still not prepared the waste reduction work plan and charges were laid.