Newalta expands into Ontario
Newalta Income Fund is buying PSC Industrial Services Canada Inc. for $110 million cash from Philip Services Corporation. Headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, PSC Industrial Services Canada’s 530 employees operate an integrated network of nine facilities serving approximately 1,400 customers representing a broad range of national and international companies. The network includes: two industrial solid waste pre-treatment facilities in Hamilton; the Taro industrial non-hazardous waste landfill in Hamilton; industrial waste transfer and processing facilities in Windsor, Barrie, Toronto, Brantford and Fort Erie, Ontario, and a waste transfer facility in Delta, British Columbia; a complete transport and onsite fleet of specialized vehicles; an emergency response service; and an industrial cleaning service.
“Beginning in 2006, we will aggressively expand PSC Industrial Canada’s core business by investing growth capital and applying our technical capabilities to create a solid platform for growth in the years ahead,” said Al Cadotte, president and chief executive officer of Newalta.
For the trailing twelve months, revenue at PSC Industrial Canada was approximately $80 million and EBITDA was approximately $20 million, which was net of approximately $3.5 million in selling, general and administrative expenses. The acquisition deepens Western-based Newalta’s competitiveness in central Canada, making it a true national company.
California battery program
California will soon require that retailers take back rechargeable batteries. The requirement will begin under legislation signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in October. As of July 1, 2006, the Rechargeable Battery Act will require California retailers who sell rechargeable batteries to take back the batteries at no charge to the consumer.
The program targets large, non-food merchants. Grocery stores and retailers with annual gross sales below US$1 million are exempted. Retailers have the option of using existing take-back programs like the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation program. The legislation was sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Fran Pavley. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control considers rechargeable batteries hazardous, and they must be disposed of as hazardous waste starting February 8. The Act will require the Department of Toxic Substances Control to survey battery handling and recycling operations annually, and the data collected will be used to determine the estimated amount by weight of each type of rechargeable batteries returned.
California’s program will be of interest to policymakers in Canada. For years, critics have charged that batteries need to be treated as a hazardous material and kept out of landfill via a mandatory product stewardship program. Heavy metals from batteries are one of the most common forms of household hazardous waste (HHW) and eventually make their way into — and further contaminate — landfill leachate. Every aspect of waste disposal — including composting — is compromised by the presence of these items in waste, that most Canadians just casually toss in the garbage with little second thought. There simply isn’t a deposit-refund-type economic signal telling them to take the batteries to a convenient drop-off location. It’s rumored that the voluntary program operated by the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) has achieved little more than public relations for the battery companies, helping them avoid the cost of a mandatory program while collecting and recycling as little as one per cent of the batteries.
Recycl-Quebec to develop biodegradable certification
At an organics workshop in Richmond Hill on December 6, Susan Antler, executive director of The Composting Council of Canada (CCC), told the audience that Recyc-Quebec is going to develop a certification for biodegradable bags. Ms. Antler said Recyc-Quebec is going to invest $39,000 on the certification program for biodegradable bags, and that the BNQ will undertake a review through the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). This is a six-month review process, she said, and will make use of the ASTM and two other standards so as to not reinvent what has been established elsewhere. There will be committee meetings, public meetings, public input, and SCC will give a number and its endorsement. The process will be complete in 2006 and companies will pay to be certified and will receive a BPI-style stamp.
For details about the workshop, see Guy Crittenden’s blog entry “Organics, the AMRC event, and some big news” at www.solidwastemag.com
Onyx renamed Veolia Environment
The four divisions of Veolia Environnement, the world’s largest environmental services company, veiled a new logo and unified name at the 2005 National League of Cities, Congress of Cities and Exposition in Charlotte, December 6-10. The global re-branding initiative underscores the company’s desire to highlight its market position as an industry leader while uniting business divisions under one common corporate identity and culture. In the North American market, the changes include that Onyx, a North American industry leader in waste management, will adopt the name of Veolia Environmental Services. Veolia Environnement recorded revenue of 24.7 billion in 2004 and has 250,000 employees.
Emergency WDO funds
Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) — the agency charged with product stewardship policy development by the province — has been granted $280,000 to enable it to continue its operations. The organization has been in financial trouble, in part because revenues from the industry funding organizations (IFOs) for stewardship programs for things like scrap tires, used oil and electronic waste never materialized. The programs are in limbo pending ministerial decision or further policy development. The WDO has asked the ministry for a long-term financial solution. So far, only blue box materials have been approved under the Waste Diversion Act.
Speakers Corner results condemn government inaction
The recent Speakers Corner survey conducted by Solid Waste & Recycling magazine about issues surrounding a potential U.S. border closure to Canadian waste exports benefited from an excellent response and the results are interesting. In addition to graphic representation of the percentage of respondents who thought one way or another about the questions, the results include detailed comments from respondents on a range of related issues. Editor Guy Crittenden has commented on the results in his blog. The Speakers Corner survey results are posted as a downloadable pdf file.
Look under “Posted Documents” at www.solidwastemag.com
EPSC announces changes
Garry Travers’ first task as the newly elected chair of Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC) was to welcome the organization’s first associate member. EPSC, the Canadian electronics industry’s voice for environmental stewardship, also used the occasion of its September 30th board of director’s meeting in Mississauga to announce it has created two new levels of membership to offer more options to potential new members from Canada’s consumer electronics (CE) and information technology (IT) sectors.
Travers, manager of environmental affairs for IBM Canada Ltd., welcomed Ottawa-based Northern Micro Inc. as the first associate member. EPSC now offers three levels of membership: board, associate and participant, with corresponding fees and input into the organization. Board level members must be manufacturers, brand owners, or first importers of p
roducts expected to come under regulation in the product categories of information technology and consumer electronics. Their representatives attend quarterly board meetings, and determine policy and direction. Associate members participate in committee work, and have access to EPSC information and advocacy services. Participant members receive EPSC electronic services, and voting privileges at the corporation’s annual general meeting.
For further information visit www.epsc.ca or contact Jay Illingworth at 613-238-4822 ext. 225 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has recently joined a coalition of 10 municipal associations and trade groups, including local New Jersey governments, in a request to the U.S. Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to rule against allowing unregulated waste facilities at rail yards to continue disregarding state and local environmental laws. The case involves an open-air waste handling site along a railroad in North Bergen, New Jersey that is exploiting Federal transportation regulations to operate without permits from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Without these permits, state and local environment and health officials are unable to fully enforce regulations and rules to protect the public health and environment.
Several of these unregulated facilities have begun operating along rail lines in northern New Jersey in an attempt to evade state and local permits under the claim that the facilities are no subject to state and environmental regulations since rail operations are regulated by the STB, a division of the Department of Transportation, not the NJDEP. The Declaratory Order filed Thursday, October 28, 2005, asserts that the waste facilities are not integral to railroad operations and therefore do not enjoy the federal preemption afforded general railroad operations. A ruling from the STB is expected in five to seven months.
In other news, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), supported by the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) scored a victory in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Chief Judge Ginsberg dismissed the GrassRoots Recycling Network’s (GRRN) challenge of the EPA’s Research, Development and Demonstration Rule allowing approved state landfill permitting programs to issue permits to facilities that conduct research and development on bioreactor landfills. The dismissal was based on a determination that GRRN did not have standing to seek a review of the rule.
In August of 2004, SWANA and NSWMA submitted a joint amicus brief (friend of the Court) in support of the EPA’s Final Rule on Research, Development, and Demonstration Permits for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. The rule allows states to issue variances from certain landfill criteria in order to foster innovation in landfill technology, providing such variances not pose an increase in risk to human health and the environment.
Contact Evan Von Leer at SWANA, 301-585-2898 x252 or email@example.com
Jack Rosen passes away
Jack Rosen has died. Rosen is fondly remembered by many in the recycling community. In 1995, the Recycling Council of Ontario conferred its first Lifetime Achievement Award to Rosen — a long-time RCO member and supporter. Jack began his career in 1943 when he joined his family’s recycling company. Throughout his professional life, Jack worked tirelessly convincing often obstinate end-users to try recycled materials. He was instrumental in breaking open the glass market in the late 1960s. In the 1970s, working with Nyle Ludolph and Laidlaw, he helped spearhead the world’s first blue box program in Kitchener, then grow it, in the 1980s, into an Ontario-wide effort.
“In his career as a recycler,” said Jack McGinnis in presenting the award in 1995, “Jack has been responsible for the recycling of over 2.4 million tonnes of material. That’s a whole lot of legacy for one person to sign his name to.”
Funeral services were held at Beth Jacob Synagogue in Kitchener, Ontario.
Calgary to offer curbside program
The City of Calgary has to approve a proposal that will soon see residential organics and recyclables collected at curbside. Calgary’s decision was based on the success of a pilot project that achieved better-than-expected results from a so-called “triple bottom line” analysis that included environmental and social benefits, as well as economic factors. Local politicians have asked for more information on bag limits and related options like tag-a-bag, which suggests user-pay-type strategies might be used to augment waste diversion with waste reduction.
Improved B.C. waste exchanges
On November 1st the Recycling Council of B.C. (RCBC) upgraded its British Columbia Industrial Exchange and expanded its successful Residential Waste Exchange System to take in the rest of the province. i-WasteNot Systems of Mallorytown, Ontario will supply the systems to British Columbia.
Online Materials Exchanges “close the resource loop” by diverting waste material to reuse thereby reducing disposal costs for the donor or seller, at the same time as recipients save on purchasing costs.
i-WasteNot already operates a successful Industrial Exchange System for CleanCalgary and their sponsors. That exchange provides 200 member companies in Calgary with an easy to use service with over 3,000 tonnes of material diverted in the past two and a half years of operation. The company also operates 21 other residential waste exchanges including the State of Washington’s www.2good2toss.com residential waste exchange system, the largest of its type in the world, and Madison Stuff Exchange for Madison, Wisconsin.
For more information, contact Norm Ruttan, president, i-WasteNot Systems, at 613-923-5291.
Ontario cement plant to burn tires, garbage
The Lafarge cement plant in Bath, Ontario will be permitted to burn scrap tires as well as garbage such as cellulose, plastics and bone meal, in a controversial $10-million tire and waste-burning facility west of Kingston. Ontario’s environment ministry gave the project the go-ahead without requiring a lengthy and expensive environmental assessment. The project will have to comply with the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act.
The Loyalist Environmental Coalition — a local citizens’ group — is upset about the EA exemption, because it means that Lafarge won’t have to pay for certain studies on the socio-economic and environmental impacts. But Lafarge says it has spent $500,000 collecting data and producing studies to explain its waste-to-energy project. The company hopes to replace about 30 per cent of its coke and coal-burning fuel with refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and knock as much as $1 million off its annual energy bill.
Lafarge would be the first cement plant in Ontario to burn RDF — an approach that is common in other jurisdictions. The Essroc cement plant in Picton, Ontario was granted permission to burn tires and RDF in 1997 but has yet to do so.
(For analysis, see “Final Analysis” article, page 62.)
HP boosts recycling rate by 17 per cent
Computer and electronics giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) boosted its recycling rate by 17 per cent in 2005 and is advancing on its goal of recycling one billion pounds of material. This achievement is suggestive of the possibilities of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as it applies to computer and electronics companies.
HP has announced it has recycled approximately 140 million pounds (63.5 million kilograms) of hardware and HP print cartridges globally in its just ended fiscal year. This increase of 17 percent over the previo
us year is the equivalent weight of 280 jumbo airliners. In addition, HP collected more than 2.5 million units — more than 50 million pounds (22.6 million kilograms) of hardware — to be refurbished for resale or donated.
To date, HP has recycled more than 750 million pounds (340 million kilograms) of hardware and HP print cartridges globally, well on the way to meeting its goal to recycle one billion cumulative pounds (453.5 million kilograms) by the end of 2007. In addition to recycling, HP offers a variety of product end-of-life management services including donation, trade-in, asset recovery and leasing.
More information, including HP’s 2005 Global Citizenship Report, is available at www.hp.com/environment
Former landfill unveiled as park
Waste Management’s former Blackwell Road landfill site in Sarnia officially opened as a naturalized community park on October 5, 2005. The opening ceremony and park sign unveiling included an educational tour for a Grade Four class from nearby Cathcart Boulevard School. The park is situated on Blackwell Road west of Modeland Road. The project demonstrates the potential for former active landfill sites to be renewed as recreational community resources.
For more information, contact Cynthia Janzen, 905-527-2985, ext 16, or firstname.lastname@example.org