Solid Waste & Recycling


What's New… (November 01, 2004)

Ontario's first Gore Cover composting system...

Ontario’s first Gore Cover composting system

On Thursday October 7, 2004 in Arthur, Ontario, All Treat Farms Limited had an official opening ceremony for its Gore Cover composting system. This will be Ontario’s first Gore Cover system, composting technology developed by world renowned W.L. GORE & Associates — creators of the popular GORE-Tex fibre. In attendance for the event among business colleagues and industry professionals were members from the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, and several surrounding municipalities.

Guests were shown a small presentation about the system benefits and given a tour of the facility.

“Today, we have retail, government, manufacturers, and waste industry people all in the same room, which tells me that you are all committed to making our environment better,” said George White, president of All Treat Farms.

“The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has asked for a commitment from everyone in Ontario of 60 per cent waste diversion by 2008. The dedication of retailers, manufacturers, municipalities, food processing industry, and many other Industrial/Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) producers can help to make that happen,” he said.

Commencing business in 1955, the privately owned All Treat Farms has grown from a family farming operation to a diversified, multi-million dollar business employing a staff of ninety-four. In addition to its composting operations, the company is a manufacturer and distributor of wild birdseed and horticultural products. It sells its products to various national retail stores, grocery stores and independent garden centres.

In 1993, the company received licensing to operate a composting facility under four separate Certificates of Approval. Under current certificates, the company services municipal leaf and yardwaste contracts, in addition to an emerging market of private-sector organics.

The implementation of a GORE Cover System is an extension of All Treat Farms’ existing expertise in aerobic outdoor composting. The increased benefit of the system is its utilization of positive aeration, control and its specially designed cover to create an enclosed system that controls odours and creates a consistent process unaffected by outside environmental conditions.

Construction of the composting system began in May 2004.

Contact All Treat Farms Vice President Lynda White at 519-848-3145 or

Rick Mauck confirmed as new SWANA president

John H. Skinner, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), has announced the election of Richard J. Mauck, Director of Streets and Automotive Services for the City of Santa Clara, California, as SWANA’s new President.

Working for the City of Santa Clara since 1982, Mauck has presided over solid waste management and recycling programs as well as programs for four other Public Works Department divisions. Allocating an annual US $20 million over many different public works programs, Mauck is responsible for solid waste management and maintaining the streets, storm drains and also an urban runoff pollution prevention program in Santa Clara.


Toronto garbage shipments receive approval from Michigan

The State of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality issued a decision to place the City of Toronto on a list of approved jurisdictions to ship waste to Michigan’s landfills. The city was approved based on its ability to prove that it could meet stringent new requirements that the state has placed on all waste entering its landfills.

In March, the State of Michigan passed legislation that prohibits the following materials from its landfills: hazardous waste, medical waste, used oil, lead acid batteries, low-level radioactive waste, asbestos, used beverage containers, yard clippings or tires.

By October 30, 2004, in order to use Michigan landfills, jurisdictions shipping to Michigan, including Toronto, must have applied to the Department of Environmental Quality to prove that they have equivalent policies, operating procedures or legislation in place to ensure that the banned materials will not be sent to disposal sites in the state.

Toronto submitted a Certification Application to Michigan on September 1, 2004. Applications were separately submitted by numerous other out-of-state waste shippers. Toronto’s application was accepted unconditionally and places the city on a list of approved jurisdictions to ship to state landfills.

Councilor Jane Pitfield, chair of the Works Committee, stated, “We are pleased that the State of Michigan recognizes that the City of Toronto has the appropriate bylaws and policies to ensure that the waste we send to Michigan is safe. This does not diminish our resolve to continuously reduce our waste shipments to Michigan and, ultimately, to eliminate them by 2010.”

Trucks carrying City of Toronto municipal garbage may be subject to periodic spot checks at the Michigan landfill but the state is satisfied that Toronto will do its utmost to ensure that prohibited materials are not carried in its loads.

In related news, Ontario’s commercial garbage did not receive the same permission from Michigan. We will update that situation in the next edition of the magazine.

Contact: Councilor Jane Pitfield, 416-529-9875.

Bioreactor landfill workshop

On December 3, 2004, CH2M HILL Canada Limited (255 Consumers Road, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario) will host a bioreactor landfill workshop. The session will be of interest to representatives of public and private sector stakeholders in the solid waste management industry actively involved in application of bioreactor waste treatment technology and those in the advanced stages of consideration of implementation of the bioreactor landfill. There is no fee for attendance but participation is limited to 25 people. Attendees are responsible for their own travel and accommodations.

Contact Neil MacDonald C.E.T. , CH2M HILL Canada Limited, 416-499-9000, ext 470.

City of Nelson faces private collection issues

The City of Nelson says it might privatize commercial garbage services because it’s lost market share to private garbage contractors in recent years. But the local union says the city isn’t trying hard enough to secure new business. Kevin Cormack, Nelson’s chief financial officer, says the city has less than half of commercial customers in the city, adding that the city is in the public-sector and doesn’t actively go out and market services. The city’s Waste Management Task Force is looking at ways of making the garbage service more effective and how to reduce waste. It has made recommendations to council. The city says that remain in the commercial collection business, it must invest about $315,000 for a new truck and replacement bins that have reached the end of their useful lives.

Garbage audits offered to businesses

The Recycling and Environmental Action Planning Society (REAPS) in Prince George is helping businesses reduce their garbage disposal bills. REAPS’ Donalda Partridge and Shelley James have conducted audits of the garbage produced by eight businesses so far, and have 88 more booked in Prince George and area.

REAPS asks for 30 to 45 minutes of the business owner’s or manager’s time for an interview and a week’s worth of garbage which they separate into bins depending on the waste type. From there, they figure out how much of each type of garbage a business will produce and then provide advice on how to reduce the total that goes to landfill. The numbers are also being used to determine which direction recycling should go in Prince George and so far Partridge sees the need for a commercial composter in the city. She’s also come across high volumes of plastic and is trying to come up with ways to deal with those items.


SWANA National

Solid Waste & Recycling magazine
editor Guy Crittenden was one of the plenary session keynote speakers at this year’s Canadian national SWANA conference in Ottawa, Ontario (June 28-29). The event was hosted by the Ontario Chapter. Crittenden spoke on trends in waste management and recycling across Canada, and the regulatory enforcement environment. Other sessions covered every aspect of waste diversion and disposal, from energy-from-waste to new technologies, from landfill bioreactors to cement kilns for disposal.

To learn more about next year’s event, contact Shirley Lackie at 705-835-6224 or via email at

Toronto seeks innovation

Lawson Oates of Toronto’s Waste & Emergency Services department spoke at the September 23 industry breakfast presented by the Ontario Environment Industry Association (ONEIA) at Lion’s Head golf course near Bolton.

Oates described the city’s aggressive schedule for rolling out the rest of its source-separated organics cart program, blue box enhancements and other changes via which Toronto aims to divert 60 per cent of its waste from landfill presently, and virtually all waste by 2010. He told the audience — which included consultants and technology purveyors — about some of the opportunities to commercialize new technology that could help the city attain its goals.

For more information about ONEIA membership or industry gatherings, contact Shai Spetgang at 416-531-7884 or

Report cites stewardship difficulties

As the dispute over where to put more than 1.3 million tonnes of Ontario’s garbage heats up into a small cross-border war with Michigan, a new report from Raymond Communications describes an American perspective on how many major U.S.-based manufacturers and retailers have come to complain about having to pay for 50 per cent of Ontario’s $118 million Blue Box recycling program.

The newly published report — Canadian Recycling Policy: The Complete Guide for Product Makers — provides a history and analysis of Ontario’s various political battles over who will pay for its curbside recycling program, and a full province-by-province summary of most of the nation’s 29 local producer responsibility programs that affect everything from packaging to used oil to paint.

Ontario’s Waste Diversion Act, 2002 allows the province to require “stewardship” on just about any product. As a result, companies selling more than about $1.6 million wholesale in the province are required to calculate weight-based packaging and printed paper fees, and report on 19 different kinds of packaging to Stewardship Ontario. Quebec is expected to follow suit soon with new regulations. (See the next edition of this magazine for details.)

This is the first time product makers have had to calculate packaging fees in North America. (Exporters must pay weight-based package recycling fees now in more than 28 countries. All of them are federal laws in Europe and Asia.) In all, manufacturers will be paying close to $100 million in packaging fees alone to the two provinces to reimburse them for curbside programs by 2005.

Some major brand owners have balked at the new “black hole” of fees, which have doubled in just 12 months.

“The companies are being asked to reimburse local governments for a system that is not that efficient, but the province apparently will not reform its mandatory curbside recycling law to reduce costs,” comments publisher Michele Raymond, who has observed recycling policy for 17 years. “It’s a bit ironic that none of these takeback laws affect commercial trash, which makes up the bulk of what is being shipped to Michigan.”

The report comes with a an audio CD of a workshop held at Take it Back WEST this year, where experts provide practical details on how companies can deal with the Ontario packaging fees. Raymond Communications publishes the newsletters State Recycling Laws Update (where this issue is followed monthly) and Recycling Laws International. The next regular Take it Back conference will be held March 7-9 in Alexandria, VA.

Contact Michele Raymond at 301-345-4237, email or visit

Food scrap collection programs attain different results

The mid-September launch of food scrap collection to 12,000 homes in the eastern end of Markham represents the fourth introduction of such a service in the Golden Horseshoe area of southern Ontario.

In Markham’s case, the fourth week saw participation rates of 80 per cent — on par with Toronto’s 180,000 households (the largest program in North America).

Meanwhile, a recent Toronto Star article quotes a Durham Region official stating that participation in that part of the Greater Toronto Area is only at 40 per cent, after having peaked at 50 per cent. A similar outcome has been observed in Niagara Region.

Markham participation was in fact up slightly from 75 per cent in Week Two. This is not surprising as once participation hits these higher levels peer pressure comes into play. Not so, however, if participants are in the minority. In this situation participation might well drop off, as it has in Durham.

The main reason for the different in performance could be education and promotion, which experts say is key. Markham’s “Mission Green” brand, while somewhat generic, has proven to be a rallying point. Meanwhile Toronto has linked green bin collection to the blue box and asked residents to “take the next step” in waste diversion, all of which has proven to be motivational.

Durham’s “Compost Happening Here” and Niagara’s “Curb Waste” programs appear to have failed to generate significant participation. They will have to closely monitor what’s happening in Markham and Toronto. Of note, Toronto and Markham have moved to bi-weekly residual collection while in Durham and Niagara, residual collection has remained with weekly. Differences in the collection and processing methods would not logically impact resident participation.

Written by Rod Muir,

Maxxam Analytics merges with PSC

Maxxam Analytics International Corporation, one of the largest privately owned analytical laboratory companies in North America, announced on October 5, 2004, that it completed a merger transaction with PSC Analytical Services.

The merged organization, operating under the Maxxam name, is expected to have revenues in excess of CDN $125-million and will provide a full range of laboratory test- ing and analytical services. The following industries will be served: environmental, petroleum, food safety, forensics, genetics and drug.

PSC is the largest analytical laboratory in Canada. According to CEO Shawn Heier, PSC customers will benefit from the consolidation of best practices and resources, as well as additional scientific and information tech- nology.

Contact Sandra Prospero, Maxxam at 905-451-4111.

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