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U.S. treaty may determine destiny of Toronto waste

The U.S. House of Representatives decided on July 25, 2003 to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S...


The U.S. House of Representatives decided on July 25, 2003 to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to enforce a treaty on waste shipment between Canada and the U.S. As a result, the U.S. EPA may soon have the authority to limit or prevent controversial shipments of Canadian waste into the U.S.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow launched a petition last month calling on the EPA to enforce the 1986 treaty, which requires that exporters of waste provide notice of all shipments and that authorities in the importing country have 30 days to either consent to the waste importation or reject it.

Currently, most of Toronto’s more than one million tonnes of waste per year is disposed in Michigan. Since a contract between the city and state was struck, the "Don’t Trash Mighigan" campaign has been a very vocal opponent of the shipments.

A representative of the Toronto works committee maintains that NAFTA prevents Michigan from rejecting the waste, but enforcement of the treaty could lead to administrative challenges.

Meanwhile, Toronto is planning to provide domestic solutions for its waste management challenges. The city recently received 51 responses to its Request for Expressions of Interest for new and emerging technologies, policies and practices to process and divert from landfill the residual solid waste remaining after diversion programs such as the Blue Box, Green Bin organics processing and leaf and yard waste composting. This represents up to 40 per cent of the municipal solid waste stream. (The deadline was July 14, 2003.)

For further information visit http://www.toronto.ca/wes/techservices/involved/swm/net
or contact Geoff Rathbone at 416-392-4715


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