Solid Waste & Recycling


What's New… (October 01, 2005)

OWMA golf tournament...

OWMA golf tournament

On September 13, we participated in the Ontario Waste Management Association’s annual golf tournament. The weather was great (although very hot) and everything went smoothly, thanks to the efforts of OWMA Executive Director Rob Cook and Administration Manager Michele Goulding.

Contact OWMA at

Gartner Lee employee wins Chicago design competition

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently held a design challenge for the City of Chicago’s new recycling receptacle. Over 125 entrants registered for the competition “reThink reDesign reCycle,” and developed a conceptual sketch of their recycling receptacle. From this group, 25 design teams were selected to develop an actual prototype of their designs. The winning design was judged by the Mayor of Chicago and a team of waste management professionals and architects.

Gartner Lee Limited was pleased to support Amanda Smith of their Markham office and her partner, Deborah Kang, an architect from Chicago, with their submission. The team won the competition by designing an innovative receptacle, which they entitled “EcoTrio.” The EcoTrio is elliptical in shape with compartments for papers (newspapers, fine paper, magazines), containers (plastic, glass bottles, steel and aluminum cans) and waste. Each compartment is constructed from recyclable materials. The AIA has been given a grant by the City of Chicago to implement the winning design in its downtown core.

Contact Gartner Lee Ltd. at

WASTECON show succeeds, despite hurricanes

According to show organizers, more than 1,000 solid waste professionals attended SWANA’s training and technical sessions at WASTECON 2005 held in Austin, Texas from September 25 to 28. A total of 3,100 people visited the trade show that had 212 exhibitors (of which 40 were first-time exhibitors).

The Phoenix show last year had 192 exhibitors. The total attendance at the show was approximately 11 percent below the Phoenix attendance, predominantly due to the response to the recent hurricanes in Texas and the Gulf Coast. WASTECON 2005 will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina from September 18-21.

Contact Evan Von Leer, Marketing Communications Coordinator, at 1-800-GO-SWANA or

Calgary to introduce curbside recycling

As we went to press, the City of Calgary, Alberta was sending to Council a motion that would see the city begin to collect recyclables in a curbside program. A successful pilot program has inspired confidence in the scheme, which would boost Calgary waste diversion to levels similar to those of many other cities and lower its reliance on cheap landfill (for which it has been criticized in recent media).

Newmarket going to court against organics plant

Newmarket plans to take legal steps to halt operations at Halton Recycling Ltd.’s plant in that city, which is just north of Toronto. The facility currently processes about 20,000 tonnes of organic waste generated by Toronto’s green bin curbside organics collection program. Nearby residents, including the Greater Toronto Area headquarters of the RCMP, have complained about ongoing odor incidents. The plant is said to have been plagued by technical glitches coping with the varied batches (three tractor-trailer loads per day) of smelly material it must process.

Twenty families in Newmarket have established a group to oppose the plant operations, and have started an independent fund to hire their own lawyer.

When Toronto’s green bin program started in 2003, the city signed a contract with the Newmarket plant to handle 70,000 tonnes of organic waste in its closed-vessel system. Containment of odors was one of the benefits anticipated with the new technology, which is similar to operations that function successfully in Europe. However, a series of startup problems prevented the company from being able to handle to 70,000 tonnes it had agreed to accept, so Toronto began shipping more than two-thirds of the material to two compost plants in Quebec at a cost of $130 per tonne.

Ontario cities furious over leaked report

Mayors across southern Ontario are angry about revelations from a secret report prepared eight months ago by consultants at Gartner Lee for the cities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which includes the City of Toronto and the Regions of Peel, York and Durham. The report indicates what landfills around the province could potentially be used to dispose of Toronto and area trash if the U.S. border closes to Ontario garbage — a possibility once considered remote but now becoming plausible with the approval of various pieces of American state and federal legislation with that objective. (See Final Analysis article, page 54.) The GTA plan assumes that in such a circumstance, the province would pass emergency legislation allowing the temporary use of domestic landfills that currently receive either little or no GTA waste. (Currently, the GTA exports more than 3.5 million tonnes of residential and commercial garbage to the United States; most of it ends up in southwest Michigan’s large Carleton Farms landfill facility, owned by Republic Waste. This is 20 per cent more than in 2003.)

The McGuinty government continues say that it has no plan to force Toronto garbage on other municipalities and Environment Minister Laurel Broten, who assumed her post last June, repeats the line that garbage is a municipal matter with which the province doesn’t care to interfere.

Toronto to lower garbage bag limit

The City of Toronto has announced that residents will gradually have to lower the amount of garbage they set at the curb from the current six-bag limit to five in April, 2005, and four by April, 2007. Even the 2007 limit will seem excessively generous to waste managers and residents of other municipalities where one- and two-bag limits have proven successful in encouraging homeowners to recycle and compost more waste. It must be remembered, however, that Toronto collects non-recyclable, non-compostable bags of trash only every second week. (Recyclables and compostables are collected weekly.)

For details about user-pay systems in Canada, see the cover story of the August/ September edition of Solid Waste & Recycling magazine.

Bacopoulos leaving Toronto, reason unclear

Angelos Bacopoulos, the City of Toronto’s general manager of solid waste management services, has left his position as of September 15, although nearly a year remains on his employment contract. Bacopoulos, 52, has served the city (and the old Metro government) for 23 years.

Toronto is entering a challenging period as it attempts to live up to its pledge to achieve total waste diversion by 2012. This promise evolved in part as a reaction to pressure from Michigan politicians, some of whom are attempting to close the border to waste exports from Canada. Bacopoulos says he’s looking forward to some time off to spend with his family, and that after a few weeks he’ll begin reviewing possible employment options, including the private sector.

Note: This news item will be updated in the next edition of Solid Waste & Recycling magazine.

Blue box needs help, group says

The current Ontario approach to residential recycling through the blue box faces major challenges, according to a broad industry coalition of product manufacturers and packaging material suppliers.

“We support the blue box like most Ontarians,” says John Mullinder, chair of the Coalition for an Efficient and Rational Blue Box, (CERB). “However, it has some key systemic problems that need to be addressed.”

CERB has compiled its first report card on the blue box’s performa

nce for the year 2003, with its grade teetering between C and D, meaning the system needs major efforts to improve overall. Challenges include whether collecting everything in the blue box makes sense any more. In the mid-1980s and early 1990s at least seven materials were collected for recycling from Ontario homes. Today, municipalities handle up to 24 different material categories, frequently mixing them together, causing contamination and impacting both revenues and overall system costs. Container glass used to go back into new glass containers. Now most of it goes into road aggregate or landfill because of contamination caused by the way it’s collected.

Contact John Mullinder at

Ontario adopts U.S. haz-waste pre-treatment standards

Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten has announced a new regulation in which hazardous waste will be required to meet the same pre-treatment standards before land disposal as those imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This includes any hazardous waste coming from other jurisdictions.

Because the regulation will change how Ontario manages hazardous waste, it’s being phased in to allow Ontario companies time to prepare and change their operations and to provide Ontario’s waste management industry sufficient time to respond to the increased demand for treatment.

The new requirements will affect approximately 95,000 tonnes of Ontario waste and 85,000 tonnes of imported waste. Roughly 450 tonnes of waste, generated annually by small producers such as local dry cleaners, will be exempt from the pre-treatment requirement but must still be properly handled.

Lengthier details are posted at

For further information contact the Public Information Centre, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, 416-325-4000 or 1-800-565-4923.

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