The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a measure that adds funds to the U.S. Customs Service for more border inspectors. Currently about 85 semi-trailer trucks a day haul waste to Michigan landfills. When the Keele Valley landfill closes at the end of the year, the number of trucks could rise to approximately 125. Inspectors who find items such as medical waste, PCBs, tires and scrap metal, could stop the shipment from entering the U.S. According to Angelos Bacopoulos, Toronto’s solid waste manager, the additional six inspectors at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge could slow the flow of trucks.
According to Michigan Republican Mike Rogers, who sponsored recent measures, any hurdle for Canadian waste coming over the border is a positive step. Mr. Rogers is also pushing for a bill to allow states to ban the import of residential waste.
Mr. Bacopoulos says that the city already screens unacceptable items, including tires, medical waste, and PCBS, at transfer stations before waste is sent to Michigan, but concedes that scrap metal can be tricky to monitor.
Toronto disposes about 1.1 million tonnes of waste a year to landfill. The city is currently initiating a new waste diversion strategy to increase diversion rates in general and organic diversion rates in particular.
See "Journey of a Thousand Miles" and "Peel’s Region-Wide Organics Collection" in the "Composting Systems & Services" supplement in the August/September 2002 edition.