Five Toronto area municipalities will save on the cost of operating their recycling programs thanks to a new glass processing plant scheduled to open its doors in Brampton, Ontario this summer.
Stewardship Ontario has struck an agreement with Canadian recycled glass processor, Unical Inc., to build the plant. As a start, it will accept all of the glass bottles and jars recycled in Toronto, Hamilton, and the Regions of Peel, York and Durham blue box programs. To support the development of this new market for blue box colored and clear glass, Stewardship Ontario is providing $1.75 million in seed money to Unical to purchase processing equipment.
“One of Stewardship Ontario’s mandates is to develop and enhance markets for recyclable materials leading to improvements in system cost efficiencies,” said Sandra Banks, vice-chair of the board of directors. Stewardship Ontario, an organization of industry stewards that pays half of the net operating cost of the Ontario Blue Box program, estimates the investment in the Unical plant will be paid back in less than two years.
Each of the five municipal partners in the deal stands to save operating costs totaling about $10 million over the seven years of the existing contract. In year one alone, municipal costs savings are estimated to range from $40,000 in Durham, which will deliver the least amount of glass to Unical, to a high of about $650,000 in Toronto, which will ship the largest amount of glass.
In total, the five municipalities will supply a minimum of 44,000 tonnes of mixed (colored and clear mixed together) blue box glass. This represents about half of the glass estimated to have been collected in residential recycling programs in all of Ontario in 2007.
“In fact, when this plant is fully operational, it will have capacity to process much more glass than these initial 44,000 tonnes,” said Andre Racine, president of Unical. “We’re expecting we’ll make rapid progress toward our capacity of 120,000 tonnes because we’ll be almost next door to many municipalities that generate a lot of blue box mixed glass. That will save on transportation costs alone.”