The City of Toronto has voted to continue sending about 850,000 tonnes of garbage to Michigan per year, at a cost of just over $53 per tonne. Thirty-four Toronto councilors (a wide margin) voted to renew the Republic Waste Services/Wilson Logistics deal for another three years, starting January 1.
In renewing the contract, the councilors rejected a suggestion by outspoken Councilor Rob Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) to build an incinerator in Rexdale. The idea was criticized, since it costs around $108 to burn a tonne of waste at an incinerator in nearby Peel Region.
Councilor Ford said his incinerator plan was aimed at saving taxpayers a fraction of the $220 million they spend on waste-related services every year. He said he’d polled his constituents about the idea and found them amenable.
The city’s waste department is reviewing its disposal options and is undertaking an environmental assessment in which all options are under consideration. That process could take up to six years. Other municipalities and regions in Ontario are currently considering thermal treatment of residual waste (incineration or gasification) because of a growing shortfall of domestic landfill capacity and the expense and pollution associated with trucking garbage to the United States.