Gartner Lee opens new office
On Tuesday, June 7, Gartner Lee Ltd. hosted a celebration at its new corporate office in Markham. The doors were opened to a roster of guests from both public and private sectors for an evening filled with great food and conversation. The firm moved to this modern, new 40,000 square foot facility at 300 Town Centre Blvd. to accommodate the growth in its environmental consulting services to national and international clients.
Markham’s Deputy Mayor Frank Scarpitti officiated at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Gartner Lee has had a long history in Markham, having established one of its first offices there over 30 years ago with just a handful of staff. Over the years the firm has grown to over 200 employees and now has offices in Burnaby, Terrace, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Rocky Mountain House, St. Catharines, the Georgian Triangle, Bracebridge, Guelph and Montreal.
For more information, contact Jennifer Rodrigues at 905-477-8400 ext. 263
Toronto contract and Michigan frustration
The City of Toronto has voted to continue sending about 850,000 tonnes of garbage to Michigan per year, at a cost of just over $53 per tonne. Thirty-four Toronto councilors (a wide margin) voted to renew the Republic Waste Services/Wilson Logistics deal for another three years, starting January 1.
In renewing the contract, the councilors rejected a suggestion by outspoken Councilor Rob Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) to build an incinerator in Rexdale. The idea was criticized, since it costs around $108 to burn a tonne of waste at an incinerator in nearby Peel Region.
Councilor Ford said his incinerator plan was aimed at saving taxpayers a fraction of the $220 million they spend on waste-related services every year. He said he polled his constituents about the idea and found them amenable.
The city’s waste department is reviewing its disposal options and is undertaking an environmental assessment in which all options are under consideration. That process could take up to six years. Other municipalities and regions in Ontario are currently considering thermal treatment of residual waste (incineration or gasification) because of a growing shortfall of domestic landfill capacity and the expense and pollution associated with trucking garbage to the United States.
Michigan’s efforts to slow the flow of Canadian waste into state landfills could benefit from a measure proposed in Congress that would gives states the authority to regulate the shipment of international municipal solid waste. The concept recently won approval from a House panel.
The bill would also require the federal government to implement an existing agreement with Canada on garbage. Michigan’s congressional delegation has repeatedly asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce a 1992 treaty that requires Canada to notify the United States of waste shipments. Under the agreement, the U.S. can decline the shipments for environmental and other reasons.
New Brunswick deposit on coffee cups?
The New Brunswick Solid Waste Association is suggesting that the province to put a deposit on paper beverage containers, including take-out coffee cups. It says the products should be recycled, not thrown in the garbage (or potentially tossed out the car window). Discarded coffee cups blight the urban landscape in New Brunswick, as in many other parts of Canada. But the solid waste association believes the problem would be cleaned up if the cups were worth five or ten cents each and coffee shops started to push recycling.
“They could have in their stores a recycle bin, so you could put it there. Or you could take that container to the redemption centre and get a fee back,” says Wayne Flinn, president of the association. Most coffee cups are coated with a thin layer plastic so they’re not biodegradable.
Vancouver CWRE involves industry groups
The eighth annual Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo, held in conjunction with the Canadian Public Works Expo, has garnered the support and sponsorship of several prominent industry organizations. The event, which will focus on the collection, hauling, processing and disposal of waste, materials recycling and municipal programs, will involve the B.C. Trucking Association’s Waste Management Division, the British Columbia Environmental Industry Association, Coast Waste Management Association, Composting Council of Canada, Ontario Waste Management Association, Recycling Council of Alberta, Recycling Council of B.C., Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council, and SWANA — B.C. Pacific Chapter.
A series of profession seminars include hot topics such as “The History of Extended Producer Responsibility,” “Classification of Wastes — TDG Versus the B.C. Hazardous Waste Revolution,” “Biosolids Management,” “Extended Producer Responsibility,” and “Waste & Recycling: Injuries, Costs, Options.” The B.C. Trucking Association’s Waste Management Division will hold its Annual General Meeting and Reception at the Vancouver Convention Centre on the first show day, October 26.
The Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo takes place October 26-27, 2005 at the Vancouver Exhibition & Convention Center. Attendee registration for the trade show will be available presently at www.cwre.ca
Whistler waste bound for Cache Creek
Whistler wants to ship its waste to the B.C. Interior because its own landfill is near the site of the Olympic village planned for the 2010 Winter Games. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District board has voted to add Whistler to the list of communities that export their waste to the Cache Creek landfill, about 150 kilometres northeast of the popular ski town.
Brian Barnett, Whistler’s general manager of public works, told the board the community’s own landfill is near capacity and slated to close this year. It’s also near land intended for the athletes’ village.
“The Olympics is driving that decision to a point but we were facing that decision anyway,” he says.
Under an agreement being developed, Whistler would ship 18,000 tonnes of waste each year to Cache Creek until it closes in 2008. Cache Creek already accepts waste from the Vancouver area, Fraser Valley, Nanaimo, Powell River and from within the region. It is to be replaced by the proposed Ashcroft Ranch landfill after 2008. Adding Whistler’s waste will bring the Cache Creek landfill close to the 500,000 tonne annual limit.
Newsletter publisher Michele Raymond dies
Michele Raymond, founder and president of Raymond Communications Inc., died April 29 after a battle with cancer. She was 52 years old.
Raymond founded Raymond Communications, which began publishing State Recycling Laws Update in 1991 to provide news and analysis on state and local recycling laws in North America. In 1995, the company launched Recycling Laws International to cover producer responsibility laws for packaging, electronics and other products in Europe and Asia.
Raymond Communications will continue to serve its subscribers and clients under Bruce G. Popka, vice president, and Kim Leslie, managing editor. Raymond is survived by her husband, Bruce G. Popka, son, Raymond Popka, and a brother.
Ontario tire plan screeches to a halt
A proposal by Tire Stewardship Ontario (TSO) to manage scrap tires through a collection and disposal scheme went down in flames in early June after various media outlets went public with the plan, some characterizing it as a “new tire tax.” The plan was to be funded via $200-million in advance disposal fees. TSO had recommended charging a levy of four dollars per passenger tire and six dollars per truck tire.
This “tire tax” characterization — spurred by opponents of the plan — conjured up memories of Ontario’s old tire tax scheme, a famous rip off in which millions of dollars coll
ected for tire recycling simply vanished into provincial coffers.
Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, still smarting from his earlier break from a key election promise not to raise taxes, clearly recognized than a tire fee would look like yet another tax, and play into the hands of opposition parties.
So he made himself very clear in telling reporters: “There’ll be no tire tax. Everybody get that one? There will be no tire tax.”
Waste Diversion Ontario had recommended the TSO plan, which is now dead in the water. The setback is considered embarrassing for Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky, who was rumored to be supportive of the scheme, yet was naive about the potential political fallout of a new “tax.” Industry observers say this development could set a precedent for other draft product stewardship plans whose advance disposal fees could be construed as another form of taxation. (See article, page 16.)
Misleading aluminum recycling data
Following up on a news release from the Aluminum Association touting a small increase in the recycling rate for aluminum cans, the Athens, Georgia-based Container Recycling Institute (CRI) issued a follow-up news release of its own that states: “New calculations suggest that the reported increase in [used beverage containers] UBC ‘collection’ from 2003 to 2004 was due in part to the increase in the redemption value of beverage cans in California. The higher value resulted in 680 million more cans collected and recycled in California last year than in 2003.
According to the CRI, the increase in imported used aluminum beverage cans also contributed to the increased recovery rate.
This discovery is ironic, in that the beverage industry generally promotes curbside recycling programs over deposit-refund schemes, yet it’s the success of the latter that accounts for the small improvement in aluminum collection.
The Aluminum Association, a Washington trade group, reported that the U.S. aluminum can recycling rate had risen from 50.0 per cent in 2003 to 51.2 per cent in 2004, and that cans collected for recycling had increased by 1.6 billion during that time. Sales remained roughly constant at 100 billion units.
CRI research director Jenny Gitlitz says, “42 per cent of this reported increase occurred in California as a result of the CRV [California Redemption Value] going from 2 to 4 cents in January 2004.” This led to an increase of 680 million cans recycled over 2003 levels. “The higher CRV was clearly a factor in raising the California UBC recycling rate from 70 per cent in 2003 to 75 per cent in 2004,” she says.
According to CRI, 30 per cent of the reported recycling increase occurred because 490 million more scrap cans were imported into the United States in 2004 than in 2003.
Executive director Pat Franklin explains, “Since these imported scrap cans have been counted in the recycling rates of Canada, Mexico, and other foreign countries, it’s double-counting to also include them in the U.S. domestic recycling rate. The U.S. EPA does not includes imported scrap in the domestic recycling rate.”
Together, these two factors account for 72 per cent of the reported increase of 1.6 billion cans recovered. “We applaud the public education and special programming promoted by the aluminum and beverage industries to increase recycling,” says Gitlitz, “but it is clear that the lion’s share of the slight increase last year was due to factors other than public education and special programs.”
For more information, contact Jenny Gitlitz (research director) at 413-684-4746.
New York City requires e-waste take-back
A new bill introduced by the New York City Council is a powerful message to product manufacturers that they must take responsibility for the wasteful, toxic products they create. The local law, introduced by the Speaker (Majority Leader) of New York City’s 51-member legislative body, along with Council Members Michael McMahon and Bill de Blasio, would require electronics producers to take back and recycle their products. Electronic products (computers, televisions, etc.) contain toxic substances that threaten public health and safety when landfilled or incinerated. This is the first such requirement considered by a municipal government. The state of Maine passed law last year requiring producer responsibility for electronic waste.
Ontario Doppstadt distributor
Ed. Stewart’s Equipment, which has served Ontario for 50 years, is officially distributing Doppstadt Canada Inc. equipment. The company offers a complete line of sales and service solutions (including a large parts inventory and a factory-trained technician) for recycling, compost, C&D waste, bulk household waste, railway ties and powerful magnets for metal.
Contact Jeff Stewart, sales manager, at 519-833-9616 or email@example.com
Ottawa EA and other news
On June 1, Ottawa’s Trail Road Landfill Site EA was approved and signed by the minister of environment. On June 9, 2005 the Mayor of the City of Ottawa announced a return of “tubs and lids” to the city’s recycling program effective August 1, 2005. The city was successful in negotiating a processing contract extension with Metro Waste Inc, in lieu of additional funds to reintroduce the tubs and lids into the recycling program.
OWMA Truck Driving Competition
Eighteen Ontario waste industry “champions” at this year’s Ontario Waste Management Association event are now qualified to compete in the 2005 Ontario Truck Driving Championships. The 18 came from more than 70 drivers who participated during the June 11-12 weekend at Challenger Motor Freight in Cambridge. The drivers competed in six categories (Front End, Rear Loader, Special Services, Roll Off, Vacuum Trucks and, for the first time ever, Transfer Trailers) for the honor of being “Waste Industry (Ontario) Truck Driving Champions and continuing on to represent their companies at the Ontario Championships being held on July 16, 2005 in North Bay, Ontario.
Record attendance (over 260 people) was accompanied by hot weather and the awarding of the Rookie of the Year, the Grand Champion and the Vacuum Category Winner to the same person — something that hasn’t happened in the history of the event. Congratulations to Kevin Czeto of PSC Industrial Services in Hamilton for winning all three awards. The association thanks the many sponsors and congratulates the following individuals who will compete at the Ontario Championships:
* From BFI Canada Inc. (Kitchener) Ray Kurmis
* From Cam Hiltz Trucking (Sharon): Terry Crossley and Aaron Staruch
* From Miller Waste Systems (North Bay): Trevor Laronde and (Markham) Dale Sheets
* From the City of Hamilton (Hamilton): John Haight
* From PSC Industrial Services (Hamilton): Kevin Czeto, John Maddalena, Don Lockhart and Mike Farnsworth
* From Waste Services (CA) Inc. (Muskoka): Gary Reid
* From Waste Management Corp. (Concord) Larry Medeiros, (Kingston) Doug Scriver, (Ottawa) Ron Drouin and Michel Ouellette, (Toronto) Tim Newell, (Trenton) Bruce Morphy and (Waterloo) Bruce Storer.
For information about next year’s event, visit www.owma.org
Ontario Bill 133 passes third reading
A controversial bill that imposes financial penalties on industrial polluters — even if they have not been convicted of an offence — has passed third reading in the Ontario legislature.
“Bill 133 will be a valuable compliance tool to ensure that companies take measures to prevent spills and, if they do occur, that they are rectified quickly,” said Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky. “All money collected from penalties will go to a dedicated fund to assist communities in dealing with the impact of spi
Bill 133 went to an all-party government committee hearing in late May. Based on representations by several environmental groups, industry and local community groups who appeared before the committee, numerous amendments were made to improve the bill.
Bill 133 allows the government to issue what are sometimes called administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) — essentially speeding tickets for spills — rather than submit incidents to a more complicated legal court process.
Bill 133 gives Ministry of the Environment directors the authority to impose a penalty of up to $100,000 a day on companies responsible for unlawful spills and emissions. The government has defended these new powers by saying that it intends to apply environmental penalties only to those facilities affected by the Municipal-Industrial Strategy for Abatement (MISA) regulations. People in other industries, including various segments of the waste management business, worry that the AMPs will soon be expanded to their sectors.
For more information, go to www.ene.gov.on.ca
RCBC conference germinates ideas
Delegates got a worm’s eye view of organics, recycling and other diversions at the Recycling Council of B.C.’s (RCBC) Annual Waste Reduction Conference June 1-3, in Harrison Hot Springs, B.C.
More than 30 presentations and workshops covered a variety of waste reduction and sustainability issues, including e-waste, paper recycling and compostable organics, this year’s primary focus.
In the opening plenary, the regional districts of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) and Central Kootenay presented a joint plan to remove organics from their municipal solid waste streams. RDKB solid waste manager Raymond Gaudart said compostable organics comprised more than 40 percent of the solid waste going to landfills in the two districts. The Kootenay’s organics management plan includes collection and processing of the material into a variety of compost and soil remediation products. Details of the study can be accessed at www.rdkb.com
On the e-waste front, Brenda Southam, executive director of the B.C. Bottle Depot Association and Bert Monesmith of Genesis Recycling, announced they have forwarded a joint proposal to Electronic Product Stewardship Canada and related brand owners to provide an e-waste stewardship program for B.C.
To view the all presentations made at the conference please visit www.rcbc.bc.ca
Solid Waste & Recycling magazine Publisher Brad O’Brien (left) with Editor Guy Crittenden at the Kenneth R. Wilson magazine awards in June. Guy’s editorial “Batteries Not Included” (Aug./Sept. 2004) about shortcomings in Alberta’s electronics product stewardship program won a “Top Ten” finalist award in the Best Editorial category.