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Canada’s magazine on collection, hauling, processing, and disposal • August / September 2016


This issue: SWANA, First Nations Join Forces to Eliminate Waste Mixing Up Source Separation  lastic-eating Worms May P Offer Solution to Mounting Waste How to Buy an AD Plant

Publications Mail / Agreement # 40719512


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Zero Waste Grocery the Future? 12 Is Vancouver is setting the example for zero waste stores in Canada. Canada’s magazine on collection, hauling, processing, and disposal


News 14 SWANA, First Nations Join Forces to Eliminate Waste

Training in remote communities opens up new possibilities.



Composting & Biodegradation 16 Mixing Up Source Separation

New technology will pave the way for SSO processing in the future.

18 Plastic-eating Worms May Offer Solution to Mounting Waste, Stanford researchers discover

Common mealworms can safely biodegrade various types of plastic.


Innovation 19 How to Buy an AD Plant 

Anaerobic digestion: technology du jour in municipal organics management.

22 Low Energy Revolution

Ener-core creates revenue generation with low-energy gases.


24 Is the Circular Economy Fact or Fiction?

It’s time to grasp the 6Rs with flourish and commitment.


Recycling 27 TWD Introduces the 50 Million Pound Pilot Project

Pilot project aims to divert textiles from the landfill in the next 12 months.

28 Combating Textile Waste with the Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Textile diversion moving on up with study, survey, and art installation.

18 Departments & Columns 4 5 8 9 30

From the Editor Letters Op-Ed Waste Watch Technology

3 1 Policy and Law 32 Mergers 33 Around the World 34 Advertiser Index

FROM THE EDITOR Jessica Kirby, Editor Solid Waste & Recycling

Pack your Bags for London Drugs I’m sure we can all agree that opening the kitchen cupboard and having 3,000 plastic shopping bags spring forth into the room is irritating at best. It also represents an important waste problem that has been difficult to address. Though we would all like to see a clean and tidy solution to recycling plastic bags, foam packaging, and overwrap, these items are not collected curbside because when these materials mix with other recyclables they do not separate well enough to meet the standards of North American recycling markets. A partnership between London Drugs and Multi-Materials BC (MMBC) is gathering information through a pilot program about how to solve this conundrum. Beginning in July, London Drugs stores in Vancouver have been collecting plastic bags and overwrap, including grocery bags, bread bags, produce bags, outer bags for diapers, and others; etc.; and, white and coloured plastic foam packaging, including foam meat trays, foam egg cartons, and foam cushion packaging for electronics. “MMBC’s partnership with London Drugs will increase access to consistent and convenient recycling of plastics and packaging for Vancouver residents,” said Allen Langdon, managing director of MMBC. “Our aim is to make recycling easier and ensure we divert more material away from landfills to be recycled into new products.” Plastic bags and overwrap are recycled into new grocery bags, plastic pallets, containers, crates, pipes, decking, and 4 » Solid Waste & Recycling

park benches. Plastic foam packaging is recycled into picture frames, construction trim, moulding, park benches, and fence posts. City of Vancouver residents can continue to return plastic bags, overwrap, and foam packaging at six other depots in the Vancouver area, and residents are also able to recycle a variety of packaging and printed paper in their blue box at curbside or through recycling pick-up programs in multi-family buildings. The one-year pilot program involves 11 stores in the City of Vancouver and will be evaluated for potential introduction in other parts of the province in the future. A communications representative for MMBC said the program will be evaluated on factors such as program uptake by the local residents and operational feasibility to determine the possibility of a permanent program with London Drugs in the city and perhaps expansion to other areas of the province. “We’re confident that the London  Drugs program will increase the overall volume of these materials collected for recycling in the City of Vancouver, which is our goal,” she said. If you are reading this issue at the Compost Council of Canada’s conference, I hope you are enjoying yourself and the opportunities offered. Please stop in and see SWR’s Christina Tranberg, who will be working the booth and so very happy to say hello and make your acquaintance. Until next time. ●●

The SW&R team Lara Perraton, Group Publisher Jessica Kirby, Editor 877.755.2762 • Christina Tranberg, Advertising Sales 877.755.2762 •

contributing writers Mark Borkowski Shane Buckingham Timothy Byrne Rosalind H. Cooper Blake Desaulniers Isabelle Faucher Jim Goetz David McRoberts John Nicholson Meghan Robinson Paul Taylor Paul van der Werf Sabine Weber

cover photo Charles Jaffe

Published bi-monthly by Point One Media, Inc. Solid Waste & Recycling P.O. Box 11, Station A Nanaimo, BC V9R 5K4 CANADA t: 877.755.2762 • Solid Waste & Recycling provides strategic information and perspectives on all aspects of Canadian solid waste collection, hauling, processing, and disposal to waste managers, haulers, recycling co-ordinators, landfill and compost facility operators, and other waste industry professionals. While information contained in this publication has been compiled from sources deemed to be reliable, the publisher may not be held liable for omissions or errors. Contents ©2016 by Point One Media Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the publisher. Printed in Canada. Postage paid at Simcoe, ON. Return postage guaranteed. Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement #40719512. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Solid Waste & Recycling Circulation Department P.O. Box 11, Station A Nanaimo, BC V9R 5K4 e: From time to time we make our subscription list available to select companies and organizations whose product or service may interest you. If you do not wish your contact information to be made available, please contact us by email at or by phone at 1.877.755.2762 Solid Waste & Recycling is a registered trademark of Point One Media Inc. We acknowledge the financial support of the Govern­ ment of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the De­part­ment of Canadian Heritage.


Tax-deposit System has no Foundation in Health By Jim Goetz, President Canadian Beverage Association A tax-deposit system combines specialized product taxation with a container recycling deposit, much like what is currently in place for alcoholic beverages in Ontario. It has been suggested that a system like this could prove beneficial to public health and the rising obesity issue in Canada if applied to sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), but this is simply not the case for two reasons: First, proposing higher taxes on SSBs fails to consider the changing consumption trends that are already occurring in Canada; and second, tying these taxes together with a deposit recycling system for refreshment beverage containers under the umbrella of an anti-obesity strategy is illogical, with no foundation in reason or any proven health outcomes. Public health and environmental stewardship are two separate and serious issues for our country—both of which the refreshment beverage industry is highly cognizant of and actively engaged in initiatives to improve. SSB taxes won’t work Sugar-sweetened beverages hold a disproportionate focus as unique contributors to obesity. According to 2014 Canadean data, Canadians’ calories from non-alcoholic beverages make up only 5% of our diets, based on an average 2000 calorie per day diet. The same source says Canadians’ beverage calories have declined by 20% in the past decade, while instances of obesity have grown, according to Statistics Canada. A tax can not be justified by the World Health Organization’s recommendation to limit added sugar to 10% of daily

energy intake because, depending on the study, the average Canadian’s daily intake from added sugar differs by only 20-100 calories more than this recommendation, according to authors of a 2014 study titled, “Estimated intakes and sources of total and added sugars in the Canadian diet.” Not all of those calories come from beverages. Any resulting change from raising taxes on SSBs would therefore have a negligible impact on reaching this 10% goal. There has been some comparison to the beverage tax in Mexico; however, Mexicans consume twice the volume of SSBs as Canadians, and Mexico’s tax has not actually succeeded in impacting public health. A small decrease in soda sales in the first year was equivalent to a scant reduction of five calories per day. In fact, there is no case globally in which beverage taxes have resulted in health benefits. The beverage industry recognizes its role in the lifestyle of Canadians and is already innovating to positively impact the calories we consume from beverages. Successful past initiatives include prohibiting the marketing of almost all beverages to children, removing certain products from schools, and voluntarily providing a clear calorie label on the front of all beverage packaging. Most recently, the industry announced its Balance Calories initiative, which is actively working toward reducing Canadians’ daily beverage calories by an additional 20% by 2025. This will have real-world impact in helping people reduce their consumption of calories and sugar from beverages, without increasing consumer and taxpayer costs. Deposit recycling system unsuitable for Ontario Consumer convenience is an important factor in increasing the diversion rate of beverage containers. A system that forces consumers to walk past

their Blue Box to return beverage containers to another location is not only inconvenient, but environmentally inefficient, considering greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, operating a deposit system parallel to a curbside recycling program results in higher overall costs to consumers, municipalities, and industry. The beverage industry believes there is a better model for Ontario. As the supplier of a portion of recyclable materials into the marketplace, taking responsibility for its role in environmental stewardship is crucial; the advent of the Waste Free Ontario Act offers beverage companies opportunity to increase the recycling rate without having to impose a costly and inconvenient deposit system. This is why the Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) filed an Industry Stewardship Plan with Waste Diversion Ontario, proposing an integrated recycling system similar to Manitoba’s Recycle Everywhere program. Industry Stewardship the way forward Instead of charging a refundable deposit plus a non-refundable container recycling fee, the CBCRA system only charges a container recycling fee, used to help recover beverage containers in the residential blue box program; provide free recycling bins to businesses, multi-family dwellings, municipalities, public spaces, and special events; and, run award-winning promotional and educational campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of recycling. Since CBCRA’s 2010 launch in Manitoba, litter audits in the cities of Winnipeg and Brandon have shown 48% and 56% less beverage container litter, respectively, while Manitoba’s third largest city, Steinbach, exhibited the lowest litter numbers ever seen by the independent auditors for any city in North America. In its first five years, Recycle Everywhere raised Manitoba’s overall beverage container recovery » August / September 2016 » 5

LETTERS rate from 42% to 65%, meaning 55% more beverage containers are being recycled today than just a few short years ago. While it is true deposit systems typically achieve recovery rates near 75%, most have been in place for decades and their implementation brings many other complexities beyond significantly higher costs and inconvenience for consumers. Canadian Beverage Association members believe all stakeholders play a role in developing workable solutions to the serious issues affecting Canadians, but ideas should be based in scientific research with cost efficiency, consumer choice, and convenience at top of mind. ●●

Ontario’s Bill 151: A long road travelled, an even longer way to go By Isabelle Faucher, Managing Director, Carton Council of Canada From the launch of the Waste Diversion Act’s review in the fall of 2008, to the introduction of the failed Bill 91 in 2013, to the recent passing of Bill 151, the Waste-Free Ontario Act, legislative reform on waste diversion in Ontario has been a long time coming. While Bill 151 was passed last June, little is known about how the actual onthe-grounds transition to compliance will take place. This is especially true for the Blue Box program, which will undergo a major shift. From a compensation regime in which producers currently offset a portion of municipalities’ Blue Box program delivery costs, to a system in which financial and operational responsibility will rest with producers. Given our mission to grow carton recycling in Canada, the Carton Council has a vested interest for this transition to be smooth and seamless. The Blue Box, which has been around for over 30 years, is recognized 6 » Solid Waste & Recycling

internationally and is widely embraced by Ontario residents. Given that the government’s Draft Strategy promised producers flexibility to meet their regulatory obligations, preserving the Blue Box collection system as we know it today may be difficult to entrench in regulation. Moving forward, producers will need to work together to ensure the integrity of the system. This does not necessarily require them to work under a single collective. But under a scenario where multiple compliance organizations will co-exist, these organizations would be required to work together to preserve and share the Blue Box collection system. In that case, the operation of these compliance organizations would need to be overseen by a neutral third-party, acting as a ‘services clearinghouse.’ Carton Council’s support for the continuation of the existing Blue Box collection infrastructure should in no way be interpreted as opposition to the development of multiple consortiums. Rather, we believe that these types of solutions can enhance the Blue Box system and even complement it. That’s what we saw in Manitoba with the establishment of a dedicated program by producers to recover beverage containers consumed away from home. To secure a smooth transition of the Blue Box system, it is critical that current service levels – i.e. collection frequency, the suite of materials accepted for collection, and geographic coverage – are maintained. And the ability of the government to set accessibility, collection, and management standards provides some important safe-guards in this direction. At this point, it is still unclear what role the municipalities, which have been providing collection services since the Blue Box’s inception, will have in the new system. For example, the Act requires producers and their service providers to implement a promotion and education (P&E)

program. However, it is municipalities who have been historically consumers’ source of information on recycling services. Consumers, if not informed, may continue to go to municipalities in search of recycling information. In Quebec, under the new regime passed in 2010, industry assumed the full cost of the residential recycling system while municipalities remained in control of service delivery. P&E costs became non-eligible for industry compensation. System contamination increased significantly following this change: from 5.2% in 2006/07 to 12.8% in 2012/13. The little amount of municipal-led education efforts seems to have contributed to this. Now that it is clear that, with the passage of Bill 151, full producer responsibility for Blue Box waste is coming to Ontario, it will be important for producers and municipalities to begin the inevitable discussions to define their new relationship in order to avoid what happened in Quebec. What is described above are just some of the considerations that policy-makers, producers, current system operators, and other affected stakeholders will have to ponder during transition of the packaging and printed paper program. The definition of targets and the methodology used to measure progress will surely be another source of much discussion during this time. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change must be commended for the quality of the consultation process that it has led to date, setting a consultative and open tone for the long road that lays ahead. The Carton Council is committed to working closely with all stakeholders to ensure a successful transition towards a wastefree Ontario framework that overcomes current barriers and harnesses the environmental and economic value of recovered materials, including those that constitute food and beverage cartons. ●●


Prepared Produce and Prepared Meals Mean More Waste for Municipalities Over the last few years I’ve noticed that more and more of my produce has been packaged into neat little containers at the grocery store. Plastic bags contain four different coloured peppers. Tomato packages carry the name of the supplier and contain eight perfect tomatoes. I can’t buy a bundle of herbs that isn’t in a plastic case. The latest produce to fall victim to the packaging craze is grapes—they now come in convenient plastic bags with grab and go handles. To make life easier for the harried home cook, squash comes pre-cut and packaged, and chopped vegetables are conveniently packaged for stir fries or soups. I’ve also noticed a significant increase in pre-chopped fruits and vegetables made into salads or veggies for dipping, and ready-made meals. In fact, A.T. Kearney released a study in 2013 predicting that convenience-packaged foods in supermarkets would grow by 6-7% compounded annually between 2012-2017. Despite the increase in cost versus the unprocessed version, these prepackaged fresh foods have quite an appeal to consumers. From the grocery stores’ perspective I can see the advantages of packaging produce and creating more ready-made meals: 1. Convenience for the customer. A customer usually wants to be in and out of a grocery store as fast as possible. 2. Marketing: The rise of “cuties” (clementines from California), Savora tomatoes, and potatoes from The Little Potato Company shows that branding gives producers an advantage as appealing packaging raises their profile.

3. Less waste for local stores: This is debatable because, while there is less waste in the produce aisle, more waste might be produced in the food prep area. However, grocery stores and food processing companies are now packaging green beans, snow peas, and loose leaf lettuces. By packaging produce in tidy containers, there is less need for sorting through individual bins by store employees, saving time and money for disposing of waste. The cost of produce waste disposal has been off-loaded to customers, and ultimately the municipality. The disadvantage of this trend are more of a tragedy of the commons, and therefore, likely to go unnoticed. Additional packaging waste: In addition to the produce waste, there is the increased packaging waste that municipal waste systems now have to absorb into its system. When grocery store chains report on waste management efforts in their sustainability reports, none of the reports I looked at mentioned the increased amount of packaging they or their suppliers were producing for this new convenient shopping trend. They produce the waste, but they don’t have to deal with it because their consumers take it home. What are we going to do? Consumer Reports did a study that compared the cost of “fresh” prepared versus homemade prepared foods and found that among other issues, the increased cost for the prepared foods varied from two to four times the price of the homemade version. Despite the waste drawback, prepared meals are likely here to stay, and, as much as I hate to acknowledge it, probably packaged produce is, too. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) recognizes that packaging is a problem, as indicated

in its Waste Management Action Plan and is intending to address packaging in phase 2 of the plan. Our waste streams are clogged with unnecessary packaging at every turn, and most of it is neither recyclable nor compostable, and even when it is, it isn’t always put in the correct bins by consumers. The CCME needs to work with cities, grocery stores, food processors, and packaging companies to develop solutions that are acceptable to all parties. This won’t be an easy task, but they can look at a few different options such as: 1.  Mandating that appropriate foods are sold in compostable containers while working to ensure that every municipality in Canada has access to commercial composing facilities. 2. Mandating that grocery store freshly prepared foods are sold in easily recyclable containers (#1 and #2 plastics) where compostable options are not available. 3.  Mandating deposits on single use beverage containers to get them out of the waste stream and into recycling programs. 4.  Developing a communication campaign for consumers so they can make more informed choices about how they choose their food. 5. Charging grocery stores a “tax” on prepared fresh food and produce containers to help alleviate the cost of the added waste to the waste stream. 6.  Encouraging an industry-led Environmental Handling Fee similar to the EHF added to new electronics purchases. This type of program could be run by a consortium of interested parties such as produce handlers, distributors, grocery stores, and packaging companies. 7. Support research and pilot projects that are looking into packaging made continued on page 34 » August / September 2016 » 7


Laying the groundwork for competition in Canada’s EPR systems Ontario votes to make Bill 151 Waste Free Ontario law Canada’s economic success relies on an open, competitive marketplace. The free exchange of goods and services between businesses and individuals drives innovation, creates jobs, and sustains economic prosperity. The same is true for market-based policies designed to address environmental challenges, such as extended producer responsibility (EPR).

waste. Next, the cartel office removed the monopoly control the DSD had over the marketplace and allowed new producer organizations to procure waste management services. Now, with competition among service providers and producers, costs are down significantly.

Creating a more competitive system

The ongoing developments and international discussion on competition are especially important for Canada as provinces continue to adopt EPR programs or adapt existing systems.

EPR is a policy approach used by governments to make companies, or producers, responsible for managing the recycling and safe disposal of certain products and materials once they have been discarded by consumers. It is most effective in an open market where both producers and waste management companies are free to compete and collaborate to find the most efficient way to collect and recycle products and materials, such as old electronics, used tires, and packaging. A recent report on EPR guidance by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development acknowledges this fact and encourages countries to strengthen competition in recycling markets both among service providers and producers. Under Germany’s EPR system, for example, producers were initially allowed to carry out their responsibility to recycle through a single producer organization called the Duales System Deutschland (DSD). However, under this arrangement, the DSD began to engage in anti-competitive practices, which included awarding excessively long, sole-sourced contracts. In response, the German Federal Cartel Office intervened by ending the process of selective tendering and allowing all qualified service providers to compete for contracts to collect and process 8 » Solid Waste & Recycling

Canada and emerging opportunities

The Government of British Columbia is currently assessing the role of competition within its EPR system, and the Government of Ontario has affirmed the role of competitive markets in its recently passed Waste-Free Ontario Act. Of specific interest with Ontario’s legislation is the reference to Canada’s Competition Act. This provision makes it clear that nothing producers or service providers do in complying with the new provincial law provides them with a defence for anti-competitive behaviour as defined under federal competition law. ‎It also ensures that Canada’s Competition Bureau can oversee and enforce all applicable competition rules in Ontario’s EPR markets. The Waste-Free Ontario Act presents a unique opportunity for the province to not only increase waste diversion, but to also lead the North American and international discussion on marketbased environmental policy by putting competitive concepts and principles into practice. Moving forward, however, it will be important for the Competition Bureau to engage with producers and service providers to discuss the current

by / Shane Buckingham, OWMA Director of Communications

dynamics within the EPR marketplace and ensure they have the proper guidance to operate in accordance with Canada’s competition laws. ReThink Competition & EPR Conference To facilitate a discussion about these recent developments, the Ontario Waste Management Association is bringing producers, regulators, municipalities, and waste management companies together this autumn at a special conference in an effort to chart the course for competitive EPR systems in Canada. The ReThink Competition & EPR Conference will take place on November 8 at the Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport. The program will include a comprehensive overview of the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing industry and governments as provinces work to reform and build up competition in recycling markets. At the event, you’ll hear from leading-industry experts from across Canada and around the world, as well as provincial regulators and representatives of the Competition Bureau, on designing competitive EPR systems, maintaining fairness and openness in the marketplace, and enforcing competition rules. For such an important topic, you really won’t want to miss this excellent opportunity to learn about the latest trends, gain insight into the changing policy landscape across the country, and network with your colleagues in government, business, and the not-forprofit sector. Mark down November 8 on your calendar for this important conference and don’t forget the 7th Annual Canadian Waste to Resource continued on page 34


Cleanaway Selects BHS for Large Single Stream Recycling System Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd. has selected US-based Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) to design, engineer, manufacture, and install a 50 tonneper- hour (tph) single stream recycling system at the company’s new materials recovery facility (MRF) in Perth. The highly-automated system is scheduled to begin operations next April. The system applies a variety of advanced recovery technologies to achieve high rates of throughput, increase the purity and recovery of recycled commodities, and minimize labour. BHS Tri-Disc™ screens, including Debris Roll Screens®, are deployed to quickly remove the material’s high glass content, which is then purified by two Nihot Single Drum Separators. NRT optical sorters play a large role in maximizing end-product quality. Two ColorPlus™ optical sorters remove any cardboard from the news stream while six SpydIR® optical units target containers to both capture and control the quality of PET, HDPE, and mixed plastics. In total, more than 95 per cent of recyclable commodities that enter the system will be recovered. “This will be a world class recycling facility providing unmatched capabilities not only for households but also business and industry,” said David Williamson, Cleanaway general manager, Western Australia. “Cleanaway was the first to introduce a MRF to WA in 1988 and we look forward to continuing to lead the way in recycling and landfill diversion,” said Williamson. Cleanaway will be able to process more material and recover a higher percentage of recyclables than it is currently capable of achieving with two antiquated systems that will be decommissioned as the new MRF

comes online. “This project will see us replace our existing metro based aterials MRFs with a best-in-class, ‘super MRF,’ which will deliver a capacity and capability, unmatched in the Perth market,” said Bhavna Torul, Cleanaway’s Perth Metro branch manager. “Our commingled recycling systems continue to raise the bar in terms of automation and recovery,” said Alan Hoskins, Australia-based director of business development for BHS. “This is an extremely exciting project for us, as we roll out our newest and most advanced technology featuring numerous process improvements. Cleanaway is clearly committed to maximizing resource recovery. This is going to be an impressive system, one that the community can take pride in and one that will set a new standard of excellence in Australia.” For more information please visit www. ●●

MMBC Reports Strong Performance in 2015 Multi-Material BC (MMBC) has released its 2015 Annual Report detailing successful partnerships and demonstrated results delivered in its first full year of operations. MMBC is a non-profit organization overseeing residential packaging and printed paper recycling throughout much of the province, ensuring household material is collected, sorted, and sold to end-markets. The MMBC program is funded by the businesses that supply packaging and printed paper to BC residents, shifting recycling costs away from homeowners. Among the key highlights of the 2015 Annual Report: • 86% of British Columbians living in areas that are part of the MMBC program reported that their recycling

service is unchanged or better than one year earlier. • MMBC continued to increase access to reliable and convenient recycling services, with 24 new depots and an additional 15,000 households receiving curbside or multi-family pick-up service. • Over 1.7 million BC households in 151 communities now have access to MMBC services. • MMBC collected 186,509 tonnes of packaging and printed paper, or 43.6 kg per capita, in 2015. • Long-term program stability was enhanced through achievement of MMBC’s reserve goals. Building this strong financial foundation means communities will be able to count on MMBC to deliver a consistent level of service, even in the face of future economic challenges and uncertain global commodity markets. • To promote the environmental benefits of recycling and ensure residents have information and resources to support their recycling efforts, MMBC invested in a multi-faceted public education campaign that reached millions of BC residents, including a travelling events team, “second life” ad campaign, and a wealth of resources available on • MMBC continued to explore opportunities to partner with producers looking to redesign packaging to reduce its impact on the environment. Among the initiatives was a study conducted in partnership with Mother Parkers that analyzed single-use coffee and tea pods within the BC recycling system, and supported new innovations in recyclable packaging design. • As part of its program plan commitment to explore the feasibility of recycling in the public realm, MMBC initiated a series of streetscape pilot projects. » August / September 2016 » 9

WASTE WATCH • MMBC participated in an international study led by the Ellen McArthur Foundation and World Economic Forum to examine how governments and businesses can collaborate in reducing the amount of plastics and other waste that end up in the natural environment. The MMBC program is unique in North America, as it is the first 100% Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for residential recycling where industry has assumed full financial and managerial responsibility. MMBC’s harmonized system for collection, processing and sale of packaging and printed paper into end markets has drawn attention from a variety of organizations and governments around the world and now serves as a model for other jurisdictions. Since the program’s launch, British Columbians can now recycle new categories of packaging that were not included in many previous curbside or depot recycling programs—including milk cartons, foam polystyrene, plant pots, aluminum foil packaging, plastic film packaging, and drink cups. For more information please visit www. ●●

Mayor’s Towering Waste Challenge in Toronto According to the City of Toronto almost half of its residents live in apartments, condos, and co-ops where they recycle and compost only 27 per cent of their waste. Comparitively, residents in single-family homes recycle and compost 65 per cent of their waste.  To help encourage increased waste reduction and recycling, the Toronto has launched the Mayor’s Towering Challenge to motivate building property managers, superintendents, owners, boards, 3Rs ambassadors, and residents 10 » Solid Waste & Recycling

to take an active role and help the city acheive its 70 per cent diversion rate. The challenge is open to any building with nine units or more and nonCity customers are encouraged to participate. Best of all it’s easy to do (with many environmental and cost savings benefits) with only three steps:  1.  Written log sheets: From Monday, Sept. 1, 2016 to Friday, March 3, 2017, track the number of garbage, Blue Box recycling, and Green Bin organic bins that are set out on each collection day.  2. Waste reduction task list: Generate ideas for reducing waste and track improvements; items can be accomplished by the property manager, superintendent, board member, owner, 3Rs ambassador, or resident. 3.  Written submission: Answer five questions and submit some photos.   Recognition will be given to buildings online throughout the Challenge period; successful buildings will be awarded a plaque/certificate upon completion. The winning building will receive recognition at a special event hosted by Mayor John Tory. For more information please visit id=518 ●●

NWRA and SWANA Issue Shared Positions on Recycling Market Issues The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) have announced two addenda to their Joint Advisory on Designing Contracts for Processing of Municipal Recyclables originally issued in April 2015.

The members of both organizations deal first hand with collecting, processing, and marketing residential recyclables. Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of those efforts has direct benefit to companies and municipalities across North America; but, achieving those goals is challenging because of variations in the types of materials set out by consumers and the prices paid for the materials once processed. Cooperatively addressing both changes in the residential recycling stream and price fluctuations for recyclable commodities are key aspects of successful recycling programs and contracts. The first addendum, “Understanding Material Composition,” addresses variations in the types of materials recovered (i.e., the composition) of residential recyclables. The cause of the fluctuations may be as different as consumers changing their purchasing habits; producers changing packaging; or a material being dropped from collection because the re-sale value no longer exists. The addendum was developed to help contract parties quantify and identify material changes by auditing the content of their recyclable materials. This document suggests that contract parties should conduct audits before the start of a procurement process and then at regular intervals throughout the contract term. The addendum offers considerations for material composition studies as materials are delivered to processing facilities (material composition study), as they are marketed, and as recyclables and/or residual materials are transported from the facilities (through-put study). The second addendum, “Methods of Determining the Value of Recyclables Handled at a Processing Facility,” shares methods for determining the value of recycled commodities based on the blend of materials delivered to the processing facility.

WASTE WATCH Residential recycling contracts often include steps through which a municipality and processor share some portion of the market value of the materials. SWANA and NWRA agreed it was important for their members to have access to a resource describing approaches to calculating values of materials according to the composition delivered, processed, and sold. The addendum discusses several different approaches to calculating material value based on variable material and residue (non-recyclable contaminant) streams. The two addenda build on and will be attached to the original Joint Advisory on Designing Contracts for Processing of Municipal Recyclables. That advisory provided comprehensive guidelines intended to improve contracting practices for municipal recycling programs. The guidelines addressed challenges facing public agencies and private industry looking to improve the effectiveness of local residential recycling programs. A copy of the addenda to the Joint Advisory on Designing Contracts for Processing of Municipal Recyclables can be downloaded at SWANAandNWRAJointAdvisory.aspx or environment. For more information on SWANA, visit ●●

New Life for Old Bicycle Tires and Tubes Its bicycle season and Recycle New Brunswick wants your old bike tires and tubes. Minister of Environment and Local Government Serge Rousselle, Q.C. kicked off the recycling agency’s new bike tire and tube recycling program at the Radical Edge Bike Shop in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

To start the recycling program, Recycle NB teamed up with the Canadian Independent Bike Retailers Association, the province’s bike shops, tire retailers, and TRACC, in Minto New Brunswick. Recycle NB CEO Pat McCarthy said there is no cost for the pilot program for cyclists or for bike shops. Collectors under the tire-recycling program will pick up the tires and tubes as part of their routine tire collections. Bike shops will collect and bundle the old tires and tubes and take them to their local tire retailer for collection. Local cycling clubs will let their members know about the new program. Recycle NB’s website lists the participating bike shops throughout New Brunswick. TRACC’s manufacturing plant will use the tires and tubes in the production of cattle mattresses and crumb rubber for use in the manufacture of a variety of rubber products. Information on Recycle NB and its programs is available at www. ●●

Bio-En Power’s digestate approved for use in organic farming Bio-En Power’s digestate is such a great product that it has now been approved for use in certified organic farming, under Canada’s system of National Organic Standards. It’s hard to imagine a better endorsement than that. From the day we began operating our Elmira facility, demand for our digestate has exceeded the supply. The photo below shows an oat field treated with our digestate on the right, and a control with no digestate on the left. You can see why there is enthusiasm for this product in the farm community. It’s a super-clean material that actually exhibits heavy metal levels below

typical Ontario background soil levels. Putting our product on the land actually dilutes the existing background loading of most heavy metals at most sites. Ours is the first digestate formally approved as an organic farming crop input in Canada. The feedstocks we use to make this material include municipal ‘green bin’ curbside organics, and lots of heavily-packaged grocery and related wastes—waste materials that start out with much higher levels of plastic and other contaminants than you could ever consider accepting at any composting facility. But day in and day out, our pre-processing system completely removes all of those contaminants up front, before the organics even see the inside of our digesters. The marketing of compost produced from municipal curbside organics has always been a challenging burden, simply because composting systems have such a hard time pulling out all the glass and plastic after the fact. That’s just the nature of the beast. But our system is able to gracefully deal with contaminants up front, which has been the key to making our end product so easy to market, even before we received this newest, organic agriculture endorsement. The future of organic waste management is here. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you’d like to know more, or to tour our plant. Visit com. ●●

Do you have an interesting story idea or news item? Contact our editor Jessica Kirby at 250.816.3671 or email jkirby@ » August / September 2016 » 11


© SFU Beedie School of Business

© Jenny C.H. Peng

© Amanda Palmer

Is Zero Waste the Future? Vancouver-based Brianne Miller is the founder of Canada’s first zero waste market. She believes as long as demand and co-operation between vendors exist, there’s no stopping zero waste grocery stores from becoming the future. By / Jessica Kirby


to the David Suzuki Foundation, half of all food produced worldwide is wasted—discarded during processing, transport, grocery stores, and kitchens. Every Canadian is responsible for about $700 worth of food wasted annually, and in Toronto alone, taxpayers pay nearly $10 million each year getting rid of food waste that is not composted. Grocery stores are solid contributors to food waste. The CBC reports food waste costs Canada a whopping $31 billion a year, and retailers are responsible for about ten percent. Why are grocery stores such contributors to waste, and is there a solution?

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First of all, more than 30 percent of fruits and vegetables in North America don’t even make it onto store shelves because they are not attractive enough for discerning consumers. Secondly, profit margins are thin in the grocery world, so alternatives to waste are often cost prohibitive. And finally, Canada doesn’t have a federal food waste policy, though progress is on its way in our home and native land. Halifax and Vancouver both have organic waste bans and mandatory compost programs for homes, multiunit residential buildings, commercial buildings, and even grocery stores. Although commercially challenging, there is a scattering of grocery stores in BC, Quebec, Ontario, and other places packaging up damaged or nearly

expired products and donating them to charities that assist people (and animals!) in need. Once considered a marginal commercial pipe dream, food waste reduction in independent restaurants, groceries, and markets is on many a-radar and while global food waste increases among multinationals, small shops are taking a small but important chunk out of this trend. Brianne Miller, founder of Zero Waste Market, is intent on making an impact on waste production in the grocery sector, one container at a time. Her project, Zero Waste Market, has been in operation as a pop-up shop for about a year, and she is currently scouting Vancouver real estate for a permanent location.

NEWS “We are planning to be relatively small in size because being bulk takes less space and the business model depends on local suppliers,” says Miller. “We are already supporting more than 40 local businesses with the pop up shops, and because we have products coming from nearby, transportation and shipping are shortened. We don’t need a lot of storage or inventory on hand.” Although the business model is radically different from the mass, global shipping network upon which conventional grocery chains rely, Miller says with some careful planning, the zero waste model is feasible at a larger scale. “It is trickier the bigger you go in terms of what people expect, and it depends on how people define “‘zero waste’— it’s subjective,” she says. Miller’s store operates on zero waste principles that others may not, including enabling customers to bring their own containers for bulk items and factoring in indirect waste streams like transportation. “We have a system to pre-weigh containers, whereas this process is super complicated in other stores,” says Miller. “In larger stores it would be feasible only if they allowed people to bring own containers and made it simple.” Working one-on-one to reduce waste during transportation really depends on a collaborative relationship larger suppliers may or may not buy into. “They have to be able and willing to go out of their way to reduce waste,” says Miller. While there are health and safety considerations, as food and drug administration has strict guidelines on packaging, suppliers often take the simplest, most cost effective packaging route, rather than the most environmentally friendly.

“We will be offering dairy, reusable glass containers for milk, and down the road it would be ideal to have yogurt on tap,” she says. “Many products can be shipped differently than they usually are, and most small and local suppliers are willing to go out of the way to do it.” Cost-wise, Miller is confident she can keep the store affordable, while still accounting for additional costs associated with the zero waste mandate such as buying in lower quantity and time and labour committed to sanitizing containers. “We are trying to price products affordably to make the store as accessible as possible,” says Miller. “We are comparable to food of similar quality, and to local and organic products with inherently higher costs. There will be a tipping point where demand will make them cheaper.” Miller’s is the only zero waste market in Canada, meaning there is no longterm data on diversion potential of this model; however, her nine pop-up shops have diverted approximately 2,500 containers over 56 hours. Every link in the supply chain – store, distributor, and supplier – must agree on the process, which can get complicated. Buy-in from consumers is also a key factor. The store will sell regular and so-called “ugly” produce and partner with local charities to donate extras. Miller is seeking large, open space suitable for moveable displays, a community area for demonstrations on composting, cooking, and other zero waste topics; and, one that will act as a community hub for local food and zero waste dialogue. Miller hopes to open by the end of 2016. For more information please visit ●●

Pop-up Shops Brianne Miller runs zero waste popup shops out of Patagonia in Vancouver, meaning her team sets up a temporary market in the store featuring about 45 products and operating for a specific number of hours or until they sell out. It has been a great forum to test and refine her approach and gain valuable market research. “We’ve been learning about our customers, who is coming, where they are coming from, and what they want,” says Miller. “We are using the research to help design the store, the bulk bins, and the weighing system, and operating on different days to test traffic.” The pop-ups have not generated any food waste, and only a few pieces of recycling. “We started in September and kept everything we generated— it is all cardboard and soft plastic,” says Miller. Nine, seven-hour events occupying approximately 60 square feet each have diverted 2,500 containers in one month. Once the 1,500 – 2,000-square-foot permanent store is open, Miller estimates diverting 100,000 containers annually, not including those reduced through supplier interactions. “You can imagine the impact if all stores carrying bulk implemented this,” says Miller. “There are 10,769 grocery stores in Canada—we’ve had a hard time figuring out what percentage have bulk sections, though.” ●● » August / September 2016 » 13


SWANA, First Nations Join Forces to Eliminate Waste

New training course succeeds beyond expectations by Blake Desaulniers Photos courtesy of SWANA


Alda Nicmans, Emily Chu from In.tent Planning, and a few others attending the 2014 Coast Waste Management Association conference, came up with an idea.

While the INAC had been converting rural and remote First Nations landfills and dumps to modern waste management systems, people who worked in the new facilities had no formal training. Nicmans, executive director of the Pacific Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America, could see that SWANA was the right organization to deliver the needed training. “We wanted to provide basic operations training for remote communities opening Eco-Depots,” Nicmans says.

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Government and private industry stepped up to provide support and funding. The Canadian Plastics Association put up funding for course materials, and BC First Nations came forward with financial support for course and program development. When it came time to review the course prior to launch, the review panel included 10 solid waste managers from First Nations communities. “The review process and input from First Nations was integral to a successful launch,” Nicmans says.


Some of the waste materials from industry in these remote areas can be dangerous and toxic. It’s an everyday problem in rural BC communities along the coast.

As a result of the development process, SWANA launched its first course in September 2015 with First Nations in the Whistler/Pemberton area, followed by Prince George and then Nanaimo. A total of 10 communities have participated in the program, all from First Nations. “We’ve started with First Nations, but the training program is applicable to any group in the province when they upgrade from landfills to transfer stations and Eco-Depots for their waste management systems,” Nicmans says. The training and certification program is run over two consecutive days. The first day, a classroom session, is more than simply lectures. “We involve people in discussion; we don’t just deliver information. It’s interactive and uses everybody’s different experience as a learning tool. The experience is in part about building lasting connections,” Nicmans says. The second day is conducted in the field, with a visit to an operational facility. “It’s a practical, hands on approach and again is partly about building connections, so that after they’ve completed the course people will have a group to rely on for questions and advice in future. We want them to be able to pick up the phone and make a call if they have questions,” says Nicmans. She notes that rural communities have their own, specific challenges when it comes to the waste stream. The switch from landfilling to transfer stations and Eco-Depots means operators have to deal with a range of materials, some of them more hazardous than others, particularly in remote communities.

teaches landfill staff how to operate a modern sanitary landfill. Issues covered include waste receiving and scale house operations, spotting and waste screening, equipment selection, operational and compaction issues and techniques, safety, special operations and littler control, as well as environmental monitoring and control of landfill gas, leachate, and surface runoff. The course usually includes a site visit and tour of an operating landfill if within easy distance and availability of the course teaching location.

Tires, car batteries, engine oil, whole vehicle hulks—there’s a lot more to deal with than there is in a regular municipal waste stream. “Some of the waste materials from industry in these remote areas can be dangerous and toxic. It’s an everyday problem in rural BC communities along the coast,” says Nicmans.

Offerings also include a course on managing transfer station systems. This course addresses the factors in the design, operation, and management of a transfer station. It deals with how to effectively communicate and overcome the challenges in planning and operating a transfer station and how planning and design affect construction and operation.

In addition, trainees need to know the details of programs such as the Return-It program for computers and electronics recycling and the Regenerate Program offered by Product Care for the management of household hazardous wastes. To date, around 50 people have been through the program from 10 rural First Nations communities, with another 180 remaining.

Another course, Managing Integrated Solid Waste Management Systems, is designed to improve the knowledge of individuals that manage municipal solid waste management systems, addressing the many and varied duties of the solid waste system manager. Master concepts of planning, developing, and managing solid waste systems are discussed along with specific system management issues.

SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications, and a large offering of technical training courses starting with LOB, Landfill Operations Basics and Manager of Landfill Operations Basics, the MOLO.

“All of our course offerings are designed to help us meet the ultimate goal of zero waste in the municipal waste stream,” says Nicmans. ●●

The SWANA LOB course is a basic course for landfill operations staff and is a good primer course for those professionals interested in acquiring their Manager of Landfill Operations (MOLO) Certification. The course



® » August / September 2016 » 15

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / edharcanstock


Mixing up Source Separation by / Paul van der Werf

BECAUSE OF OUR OBSESSION with source separation, organic waste diversion may soon find itself juxtaposed between a plateau and a wall. Currently, residential wastes make up about 35 per cent of the Canadian municipal solid waste stream, and broadly 35 per cent of that consists of what could be defined as source separated organics (SSO). To date almost all of our SSO diversion efforts have been placed on that lowest hanging piece of fruit—the single-family household. It makes up 65 per cent of Canada’s housing stock (although only 35 per cent in densely populated cities like Toronto). The SSO these households generate make up eight per cent of the Canadian waste stream. If we assume a generous capture rate of 60 per cent, we would be lucky to divert five per cent of the total Canadian waste stream if all of these households had access to such a program. We are largely missing multi-residential SSO, which makes up four per cent and the commercial and institutional parts of IC&I SSO, which make up another 16 per cent of the Canadian waste stream. We generally try to apply the singlefamily source separation solution to the multi-residential sector. It goes something like this: jam round peg into square hole. Study why it doesn’t work. Repeat. Never mind the largely ignored commercial and institutional organic wastes. To get ourselves off the Einsteinian treadmill of doing things the same way but expecting different results, we need to take a look at the whole concept of source separation. It is built around composting and being 16 » Solid Waste & Recycling

Photo courtesy of Omrin.

able to produce the best possible quality compost. Composting, although it has taken us a long way, is the “wall” part of the aforementioned juxtaposition. The overused maxim of “what you put in is what you get out” remains true but only because the composting preprocessing technology to fully clean up (to compost standards) the more heavily contaminated single-family source separated streams does not exist. Moreover, composting does not stand a chance in dealing with the organic wastes in the more contaminated multiresidential and ICI waste streams, not to mention the organics that end up in the garbage bag. The real kicker is that in this age of climate, composting blasts off 50 per cent of its (biogenic) carbon into the air like an inefficient fireplace leaving post-application sequestration as arguably its only real carbon benefit. Moving past the source separation “plateau” will require processes and technologies that can handle more contaminated streams and biologically capture the energy of organics. In this regard, composting as a process will remain but it is going to be subsumed as a primary organic waste processing technology by anaerobic digestion and other technologies. For multiresidential and a great swath of ICI organics, composting will only be used to polish digestate, if that.

So what does the future look like? Getting rid of the algorithm and its self-perpetuating source separation do-loop could be a start. Taking a fresh (and truthful) look at other technologies should be task one. Given our waste generating profligacy and our inefficiency in diverting it (not to mention our quirky moralizing about energy from waste somehow not counting as diversion) we could try something completely different. On a recent trip to the Netherlands I had the opportunity to see mixed processing in action. Anaerobic digestion is used to capture the energy from garbage. Attero is a major Dutch waste management company that manages more than four million tonnes of waste annually at a number of facilities. About one-half of this waste is received at the Wijster facility in northeastern part of the Netherlands. The company handles the usual source separated streams sending out recycled printed paper and packaging, creating biogas through anaerobic digestion and energy from its energy-from-waste facility. Notwithstanding the various programs the Dutch have for waste diversion and their reduced waste generation profligacy, they do have garbage, with 35 per cent organics. About 850,000 tonnes of this arrives at the Wijster facility. Approximately 15 per cent of the inbound waste is recovered,

COMPOSTING Image courtesy of Attero.

including beverage cartons, plastics, and organics, with the balance proceeding to the on-site energyfrom-waste facility. The above noted materials are separated using shaker screens, into coarse, medium, and fine waste, which are directed to further separation including ballistic, air, and optical sorting (see Figure 1 above). The organic waste is further processed to remove metal, stones, and glass prior to being directed to the anaerobic digester to strip out the energy. It is not possible to sort out all contaminants in this stream. This organics stream is directed to a dedicated plug flow “dry” digester. They obtain a biogas yield of about 90 m3/ tonne. The digestate is too contaminated to process further and is directed to the energy-from-waste facility. A second digester is devoted to source separated organics and its digestate is used to produce high quality compost. At the Heerenveen facility in northern Netherlands, a municipally-owned waste management collective called Omrin (which is a Frisian word for recycling) receives about 220,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste annually at what is essentially a mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant. About 35 per cent of this garbage consists of organic waste.

Using a series of trommels, conveyors, magnets, eddy currents, and optical sorters, they manage to strip off the paper, plastic, metal, and organics. The organics go through a washing plant to remove sand and inert materials. From all of this they are able to recover 5560 per cent refuse-derived fuel, which is further processed, and 40-45 per cent enters the wet organics stream. This contaminated organics stream is directed to three wet digesters (2128 day residence time) that includes a patented way to flush light and heavy fractions and with a biogas yield of approximately 150 m3/tonne. They use the same digesters for this and source separated organic waste streams. The digestate from this process is directed to energy from waste. The gas from the organics has been converted into electricity. They are currently building a gas hub to turn it exclusively into natural gas and put it to the grid. Finally, 60 of the company’s 180 vehicles use this gas and all new vehicles purchased run on it. There are limited examples of mixed waste processing in Canada (e.g. City of Edmonton and Otter Lake) but its true potential has not been explored. With climate being a key driver and jurisdictions such as Ontario setting a

Photo courtesy of Omrin.

Photo courtesy of Attero.

goal for zero greenhouse gas emissions from waste, finding ways to deal with difficult to source separate organics streams and the organics in the garbage stream is imperative. ●● Further reading: Attero Omrin » August / September 2016 » 17


Plastic-eating worms may offer solution to mounting waste, Stanford researchers discover

An ongoing study by Stanford engineers, in collaboration with researchers in China, shows that common mealworms can safely biodegrade various types of plastic. By / Rob Jordan

CONSIDER the plastic foam cup. Every year, Americans throw away 2.5 billion of them. And yet, that waste is just a fraction of the 33 million tons of plastic Americans discard every year. Less than 10 percent of that total gets recycled, and the remainder presents challenges ranging from water contamination to animal poisoning. Enter the mighty mealworm. The tiny worm, which is the larvae form of the darkling beetle, can subsist on a diet of Styrofoam and other forms of polystyrene, according to two companion studies co-authored by Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford. Microorganisms in the worms’ guts biodegrade the plastic in the process—a surprising and hopeful finding. “Our findings have opened a new door to solve the global plastic pollution problem,” Wu said. The papers, published in Environmental Science and Technology, are the first to provide detailed evidence of bacterial degradation of plastic in an animal’s gut. Understanding how bacteria within mealworms carry out this feat could potentially enable new options for safe management of plastic waste. “There’s a possibility of really important research coming out of bizarre places,” said Craig Criddle, a professor of civil and environmental engineering who supervises plastics research by Wu and others at Stanford. “Sometimes, science surprises us. This is a shock.” Plastic for dinner In the lab, 100 mealworms ate between 34 and 39 milligrams of Styrofoam – 18 » Solid Waste & Recycling

Photo credit: Yu Yang

about the weight of a small pill – per day. The worms converted about half of the Styrofoam into carbon dioxide, as they would with any food source. Within 24 hours, they excreted the bulk of the remaining plastic as biodegraded fragments that look similar to tiny rabbit droppings. Mealworms fed a steady diet of Styrofoam were as healthy as those eating a normal diet, Wu said, and their waste appeared to be safe to use as soil for crops. Researchers, including Wu, have shown in earlier research that waxworms, the larvae of Indian mealmoths, have microorganisms in their guts that can biodegrade polyethylene, a plastic used in filmy products such as trash bags. The new research on mealworms is significant, however, because Styrofoam was thought to have been non-biodegradable and more problematic for the environment. Researchers led by Criddle, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, are collaborating on ongoing studies with the project leader and papers’ lead author, Jun

Yang of Beihang University in China, and other Chinese researchers. Together, they plan to study whether microorganisms within mealworms and other insects can biodegrade plastics such as polypropylene (used in products ranging from textiles to automotive components), microbeads (tiny bits used as exfoliants) and bioplastics (derived from renewable biomass sources such as corn or biogas methane). As part of a “cradle-to-cradle” approach, the researchers will explore the fate of these materials when consumed by small animals, which are, in turn, consumed by other animals. Marine diners sought Another area of research could involve searching for a marine equivalent of the mealworm to digest plastics, Criddle said. Plastic waste is a particular concern in the ocean, where it fouls habitat and kills countless seabirds, fish, turtles and other marine life. More research is needed, however, to understand conditions favorable to continued on page 34


How to Buy an AD plant Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is the technology du jour in municipal organics management, and with good reason, as many believe it offers numerous advantages over composting. By / Paul Taylor, Manager of New Business Development, Bio-En Power Photos courtesy of Bio-En Remarkable odour control It’s difficult to find a large-scale composting facility operating in Canada today that doesn’t experience at least a handful of odour complaints each year, but a reasonably-well designed and operated AD plant should be able to operate with zero off-site odours, since most operations are carried out in gastight piping and tanks. The Bio-En Power facility in Elmira, Ontario processes 70,000 tonnes of organics per year, and does so on a small, urban lot just larger than three acres. More than 20 single-family homes are located within 300 metres of the centre of the plant, yet the facility has never experienced a single odour complaint. The City of Toronto’s Disco Road AD facility processes 75,000 tonnes of curbside organics every year, and likewise has a sterling odourcontrol record, though there are many

commercial, office, and industrial properties within a short distance. Higher tolerance for contaminants The City of Toronto strongly encourages residents to use as many layers of plastic bags as necessary to deal with the ‘yuck’ factor in packaging their curbside organics because its AD plant has a pre-processing system capable of separating those materials (not to mention button batteries, cutlery, ceramics, and oyster shells) from the organics before the material even gets to the digester. Likewise, the Bio-En Power plant in Elmira, which processes municipal green bin organics, is simultaneously able to take in large loads of off-spec, spoiled, and recalled commercial organics in original packaging, including foam meat trays and glass bottles. It’s widely-established that the pre-processing systems available,

especially with ‘wet’-type AD plants, allow them to routinely work with feedstock streams no composting facility could responsibly consider. Of particular interest to municipalities is diversion numbers. A higher tolerance for inorganic contaminants means it’s easier to look at adding diapers and similar materials to the definition of organics. Likewise, municipalities who move into sourcing organics from the multi-unit residential sector know they can count on AD systems to handle a high level of contaminants. Both Ontario’s Regional Municipalities of Peel and of Durham have recently embarked on procurement processes for AD capacity, premised on this very goal. Lower costs Some propose AD is more costly to build and operate than a comparable composting facility. Based on Bio-En’s » August / September 2016 » 19


If the plant is designed to maximize biogas production, even if that marginally increases capital cost, we know the all-in system cost per tonne can be significantly lower than comparable costs of enclosed composting facilities.

experience, this conventional wisdom will soon be turned on its head. AD’s trump card is that every plant produces biogas, which can be used to generate energy revenue. Obtaining lower costs requires preliminary design considerations. If the only goal is to process organics with energy as a by-product, the plant could end up expensive. But if the overarching objective is a great, low-cost facility that doesn’t produce odours and deals well with the organics, design and operational decisions can indeed achieve this result. For instance, if the plant is designed to maximize biogas production, even if that marginally increases capital cost, and is operated to take advantage of this potential, we know that the all-in system cost per tonne can be significantly lower than comparable costs of enclosed composting facilities. Make Your Own Low-carbon Fleet Fuel An option when deciding how to use biogas produced by an AD plant is whether to scrub it, produce natural gas, or burn it to produce electricity. Natural gas produced in this way 20 » Solid Waste & Recycling

(or from a landfill gas project, for instance), is called renewable natural gas (RNG), as it is being manufactured from a completely-renewable source – the organic wastes – rather than being pulled out of the ground. It can be used for any purpose natural gas can be used for, but an increasingly popular strategy is use to power municipal vehicle fleets. The City of Surrey, BC is building an AD plant that will process curbside organics and produce biogas to make RNG for the city’s waste collection fleet. That’s the same fleet that picks up the organics in the first place. Talk about closing the loop. The City of St-Hyacinthe, Quebec is developing a staged project that will produce RNG from curbside organics, biosolids in its wastewater treatment plant digester, and an abundance of local dairy-industry organic wastes, and hopes to eventually power its entire municipal fleet this way, right down to pickup trucks and street sweepers. Revenue from selling RNG on par with today’s street price for diesel is enough to allow your AD plant to cover most of its operating costs if the plant

is thoughtfully designed and operated with that goal in mind. A municipality that uses its own RNG to power its vehicle fleet can get off of the world fuel price roller-coaster. Include an inflationary adjuster so the AD plant has a steady and predictable source of revenue, and you have a locked-in and predictable fuel cost for that vehicle fleet for years to come. Several Canadian municipalities have already switched their waste collection fleets to natural gas because it is a much lower-carbon fuel than diesel, and the Ontario government has recently announced aggressive funding and other incentives to try and push heavy truck and transit vehicles off of diesel and into natural gas engines as a key plank in that province’s climate change strategy.

AD Market Tips If you are thinking of building an AD plant, here are some key considerations in that procurement: Seek a Low-cost Solution To keep costs reasonable, design and build a plant to squeeze as much energy

INNOVATION as possible out of the waste. Some facilities actually produce 50% more energy from the same waste because they were designed with that goal in mind. Decide on the revenue goals and energy use before procuring the plant. This is easy for a municipality, since the biogas can operate the vehicle fleet as RNG. To do the procurement process properly, you need to set a price for the RNG, so bidders can assume the same level of revenue. We recommend 85 cents per diesel-litre equivalent—enough revenue to cover most of the plant’s operating costs and a competitive cost for truck fuel. Be sure to link capital recovery and net operating costs to derive the lowest possible lifetime cost for the plant. Technology providers will respond to this if they’re given a specific target. Demand a Super-clean End Product Canada’s approximately 60 AD plants commonly direct market digestate as an agricultural soil amendment and apply it to farm lands without further processing.

time, provinces will likely adopt this standard, including that for municipal organics-derived digestate. Think Hard about Liquid Organics Most Canadian AD plants process both solid and liquid organic wastes as feedstocks. There are also suitable liquid wastes out there looking for a home: fats, oils, and greases, and a broad range of food industry process waters and sludges. Including liquids brings three distinct advantages, all of which help to further reduce costs: • Energy-rich liquids mean more power can be produced by the plant • Most AD plants need large quantities of input water to produce a slurry from solid waste feedstocks. Displacing water with liquid wastes saves on water costs • Liquid wastes will additional tipping fees



Think Hard about Commercial Organics There are, of course, many commercial

organic wastes that need management. Limiting a facility to processing municipally-collected organics will force these materials elsewhere, taking their energy and tipping fees with them. Build a slightly larger facility to accommodate these materials and take advantage of the economies of scale. One Design and Operation Vendor AD facilities can be complex to manage and operate. Have yours operated by an experienced operator with a track record that impresses, and ensure the plant is designed, built, and operated by the same group, as a single package. That way, the plant will be designed and built to be practical and ensure success. ●● Paul Taylor is manager of new business development for Bio-En Power Inc., in Elmira, Ontario. Paul worked for 25 years in the compost sector, including design and operation of most of the first residential food waste composting pilots in Ontario, and being one of the founding directors of the Compost Council of Canada. After composting more than 500,000 tonnes of waste, Paul has recently crossed over to the dark side, and has become a passionate advocate for AD.

Some others (the City of Toronto’s Disco Road plant, for instance), first de-water the digestate and market the resulting solids as compost. This latter approach will be used in large municipal plants planned for construction in Quebec. We recommend buyers insist that the digestate meet the highest prevailing Canadian compost quality standards for pathogens, foreign and sharp foreign matter, and heavy metals. Standards vary widely from province to province, and between compost and digestate. To last 20–25 years, a plant should be built to where standards may be tomorrow. The Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec (BNQ) is responsible for creating the ‘parent’ standards for compost quality in Canada, and issued its latest version earlier this year. In » August / September 2016 » 21


Low Energy Revolution Ener-core is bringing environmental and revenuegenerating possibilities to the waste management market with technology that enables lowquality waste gas to generate energy, doing so with negligible NOx emissions, and while fully destroying all emitted VOCs. By / Jessica Kirby Photo courtesy of Ener-core


Los Angeles, an old landfill, Toyon Canyon, is still emitting weak waste gases, despite being closed for 30 years. Rather than flare the waste gases, a new technology – Power Oxidizer, created by Ener-core, based in Irvine, California – is slated to be installed and will turn those waste gases into clean energy.

typically emitted by closed landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and other industrial facilities.

Ener-core’s technology fills a technical gap in the market for solutions that can use low-energy (low BTU) and highly contaminated gases for energy generation. Most combustion engines and turbines are designed around highperformance combustion chambers that require uncontaminated, high-energy, premium fuels; any power system utilizing a high-grade combustion chamber could never run on the energy levels or levels of contaminants

Power Oxidation effectively achieves the same task as the combustion chamber of traditional engines and turbines – that is, to generate heat – but without ignition. This is achieved with a large vessel into which the poor quality gas is fed. The low-energy gas is combined with 95-97 percent air, and the temperature and pressure are raised to a point where the gas is naturally oxidized quickly, creating heat without ignition.

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Current landfill flaring station at Toyon that will shut off as a result of Ener-Core’s Eco-stations

Alain Castro, CEO of Ener-core, says this is the technology’s main unique feature. “This enables us to extract the energy, i.e., heat, out of gas that is difficult to combust. And because there is no ignition, there are negligible (<1 ppm) nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels produced,” he says. “I think we might be one of the lowest NOx emission devices in the world for power generation.” The technology also almost fully consumes all of the VOCs embedded in the waste gas. “As a combination pollution control system with the

INNOVATION benefit of generating useful energy, it is not just destroying the gases but doing something useful with them,” says Castro. This technology was developed over seven years. Ener-core received a conditional purchase order worth $3.29 million to build, deliver, and install four of its EC-250 EcoStations at the Toyon Canyon Landfill, which closed in 1985. The installaton will allow the site to produce 1 MW of clean power for the next 10 to 15 years. “Many landfills around the world are generating energy from waste gases through the use of traditional reciprocating engines,” says Castro. “However, the engines usually get decommissioned after the landfill is closed. But poor quality gases continue to be emitted for an additional 6080 years, and the landfill owners are usually left with no alternative other than to flare those gases.” Another important data point addresses the quality percentage of useable gas. “When a landfill is open and operational, we can commonly see gas emissions which are 50-60% methane or higher, which contains more than enough energy density to power a traditional engine or turbine,” says Castro. “Once you close a landfill, it is a matter of time before the methane content will drift below 35-38%, at which time the engines are usually decommissioned. “Ener-core units can run on gases that have as low as 10% methane content, which makes this an ideal solution for replacing the engines and extending the energy-generating life cycle of the landfill.” The Griffith installation is one of Enercore’s first—there is another in Europe, one at the University of Irvine running as a demonstration site, and a third currently being installed at Santiago Canyon in Southern California.

Ener-Core’s EC-250 Eco-station (four of these will be installed at the Toyon landfill)

The company has also finished constructing and is currently finalizing testing on a larger version of its Power Oxidizers. This new version will enable the generation of 1.75 MW of power (seven times larger than current version), and is being installed to produce on-site power from the waste gases emitted by an ethanol plant in California. Ideally, Ener-core would be consulted approximately a year before decommissioning the engines at a landfill, in order to begin planning for an installation. The company is still in its early stages, having just deployed the technology commercially in last two years and is in the marketing phase relying also on word of mouth to garner attention to its technology. “High-profile projects like the one at Griffith Park are helpful,” says Castro. “Within Los Angeles, Griffith Park is probably the equivalent of Central Park in New York, and the fact that we are able to prevent the park from destroying the waste gases, and instead using these gases to produce useful clean energy, is great for the city of Los Angeles and also a magnificent showcase for our technology.

“We want the global landfill industry to know this technology exists so they can assess their options for after other landfills get closed.” Ener-Core fields Canadian inquiries about its product on a regular basis and in many industries, and envisions the technology having global reach. The company recently signed a commercial and manufacturing license agreement with Dresser-Rand (now a Siemens business), granting that company exclusive rights to manufacture Ener-core’s Power Oxidizers within the 1 to 4 MW power capacity range, and to sell the units – integrated with 2 MW KG2 turbine, manufactured by Dresser-Rand – directly to industrial customers. “We have a unique alternative for the global pollution abatement industry, as our solution enables industries to monetize their waste gases, and hence provides a positive return on investment,” said Castro. “As far as we know, we’re one of a small sub-set of solutions coming onto the market that can enable industrial facilities to generate financial profits while drastically reducing the waste gases that typically contribute to air pollution.” ●● » August / September 2016 » 23


Is the Circular Economy Fact or Fiction? By / David McRobert and Meghan Robinson Photos by / David McRobert

The “three Rs” – reduce, reuse, and recycle – have been an alleged Holy Grail of progressive waste experts, consultants, and the environmental movement for many years. They are three different concepts that work in tandem to achieve common goals: increase efficiency, reduce our need to harvest natural resources by getting greater use out of what we already have, and build a more sustainable society. The recently tabled Bill 155, the Waste Free Ontario Act (WFOA), seeks to place a greater emphasis on the three Rs principles, to create a circular economy with zero net waste sent to landfills. A lofty goal, to be sure, and while they are not insurmountable, there will be colossal hurdles along the way. The three Rs have long been viewed an ideal, but in practice, their implementation has been spotty. Traditionally, while reduce, reuse, and recycle are always spoken in the same breath, the vast majority of effort and attention has been paid to recycling— arguably the least valuable of the three 24 » Solid Waste & Recycling

Rs. Fundamentally, the emphasis on 3Rs has steered policymakers away from a larger public policy debate Recycling is at this point an icon of the environmental movement, and it is in some ways a success story, but it also has some decided disadvantages. It requires a lot of effort and energy, and it can be a significant emitter of greenhouse gases. Recycling also serves to perpetuate our throwaway mentality, where we toss anything as soon as we’re bored or it develops any kind of defect. It’s seductively easy to just throw something in a bin – blue or otherwise – and forget about it. Recycling certainly has a place and a value, but it cannot be the only solution. By comparison, the concept of reusing items over and again to increase their lifespan has been perhaps the most neglected of the “Rs.” It requires the biggest change in how we think and behave. It requires an end to our throwaway mentality, and a willingness to repair and maintain items.

If Ontario is to move towards the WFOA’s zero net waste ideal, producers will have to establish basic infrastructure for repair and maintenance of our everyday items. Small appliances, in particular, present significant challenges that will need to be addressed. Small appliances, big problems Small appliances – vacuum cleaners, blow-dryers, electric shavers, toasters, and others – are symptomatic of many of the problems faced along the road towards a waste-free Ontario. Small appliances have become increasingly difficult to recycle since the 1980s and the expansion of Big Box stores, which sell cheaper products, often imported from China. These products are designed using dozens or even hundreds of small parts made up of moulded plastic, metal screws, glass, computer chips, and other materials, and to be recycled properly to avoid cross-contamination with other recycling streams, they must be carefully dissembled, and each of

INNOVATION their parts recycled separately. It is a very time, resource, and cost intensive process, assuming people even bother to recycle them, instead of throwing them away or leave them at the curb to be picked up. There was a time when it was common for people to repair broken or damaged appliances, but increasingly, consumers are buying cheap or disposable appliances rather than paying the extra cost to buy products that are built to last. This ultimately costs them more. It’s cheaper in the long run to buy something high quality and maintain it over many years than it is to constantly buy replacements, but most people don’t plan that far ahead. We have moved more and more towards a culture of disposability rather than maintenance, and that must change, but will require a culture shift from consumers and manufacturers. Dunn’s Appliance Repair In 2014, we undertook a case study on the issues related to repair and stewardship of vacuum cleaners and similar small appliances in Peterborough, Ontario with the assistance of staff at Dunn’s Appliance Repair. Dunn’s has been in operation in downtown Peterborough since 1947. Traditionally, it has focused on the repair of small appliances like vacuums and electric shavers, as well as the sale of replacement parts for them. In recent years, that changed as customers increasingly moved away from maintenance and began to prefer buying cheap, new products. Sales of new vacuums used to be a minor source of income for Dunn’s, but has become central to the company’s survival. The biggest problem is manufacturers designing and distributing products that simply cannot be repaired and consumers opting to purchase them.

Batteries for rechargeable appliances, for instance, are often glued in place and impossible to replace. Plastic housings for engines and moving parts are not cost-effective to replace. Vacuum engines are built with non-removeable bearings, meaning engines can no longer be rebuilt after a certain period of use. Parts are not standardized— Dirt Devil vacuum products, sold since the late 1990s, use more than 70 different filters and dirt collection bag sizes, making inventory a nightmare for retailers and repair shops and discouraging consumers. Roy Wheeler, repair staff at Dunn’s, provided a list of companies whose vacuums are now difficult or impossible to repair, and the reasons why. One example is Dyson, which we will discuss more in a moment: “There are no parts available for the newer models of vacuums. Parts are starting to become available for some of the older models. There are restrictions on becoming a service depot for Dyson. They require a minimum order of $5,000 and the parts are pre-determined by Dyson. You can’t choose which parts to order; you get what you get.” A few companies are still producing vacuums that can be repaired and the parts to do so – like Filter Queen, Electrolux, and Kenmore – but they are increasingly the minority. Repair shops like Dunn’s are shutting down all across Ontario, costing us well-paying jobs that teach strong technical and entrepreneurial skills. It’s not just bad for the environment; it’s bad for local economies and the workforce. Dyson rebuts Jessica Danziger-Lin, public relations and communications executive for Dyson Canada, said Dyson takes sound measures to protect the environment.

“You may be aware that our full-size machines have a five-year warranty, which includes parts and labour,” she said. “Dyson machines have no bags or filters to replace (our filters are washable) reducing waste.” Dyson provides a call-in support service based in Toronto, which assists users in how to best use the machine, from washing filters to fixing blockages. “If the problem is too complex to deal with over the phone, our customer service team will arrange for a customer’s machine to be repaired at one of our 14 authorized repair centres across Canada,” said Danziger-Lin. “In this way, [we are] supporting the longevity of our machines.” Arguably, the company is not promoting sustainability because local repair shops are being driven out of business and local repair expertise is lost. Taking advantage of Dyson’s repair system and five-year warranty means shipping goods long distances to one of 14 service centres. Dyson’s system also requires buyers to invest time and mental energy on the phone trying to figure out what is wrong with their electrical products, whereas many consumers would prefer to let local experts handle the repairs, especially after the initial $400–600 investment. Companies like Dyson need to drop their obsessive control of product specification and repair tools and allow local businesses to play the role they must—supporting consumers and providing local services. In sum, these companies need a different business model. The 6Rs For at least 20 years, many educators, activists, and academics have advocated that the traditional 3Rs hierarchy be replaced by a 6Rs waste hierarchy. Indeed, this discussion has informed » August / September 2016 » 25


Zero Waste Hierarchy

The 6 Rs

Product Redesign Source Reduction

REFUSE to buy things you don’t need, products that are overpackaged or are hard to reuse or recycle, or cheap, plastic products that you know will have limited lifespan.

Reuse Recycling Composting Waste Composition Research Material Recovery

REDESIGN of products to reduce over-packaging; design for disassembly, re-assembly, re-use, repair, and recycling. REDUCE the amount of goods you do buy; consume less, waste less, use less energy; and buy in bulk and for multi-purposing. REUSE items by repairing those you can; buying durable, maintainable, quality products; avoiding single or limited use items; repurposing; and, supporting reusable alternatives. RECYCLE items you cannot reuse and curb buying habits to support recyclable products and packaging. RECOVER energy and resources from your food waste by backyard composting, or use the municipal compost waste collection system. ROT – the least favoured option – means sending unusable waste to the landfill. The 6Rs provide a basis for understanding the complex challenges facing governments, industries, communities, waste handlers, consumers educators, and activists as we attempt to implement policies and regulations to support laws such as WFOA.

26 » Solid Waste & Recycling

Biological Treatment Stabilized Landfill Zero Waste Hierarchy, developed by Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network,

core ideas about the need to promote a Circular Economy. This order of preference, as shown in the diagram above, clearly shows the different options for waste prevention and management, with the most favourable option (refusing waste) located at the top of the triangle, and the least favourable option (rot – sending waste to landfill) at the bottom. See Zero Waste Hierarchy chart above and the 6 Rs left. The path forward The missteps of small appliance manufacturers are a good example of the problems that exist in the small appliance industry, but they are only an example, and they are by no means the only sector with issues like this. Moving forward, we will have to enact changes on both the consumer and manufacturer side of the equation if small appliances are not to be a roadblock to the goals of the Waste Free Ontario Act. Education will also be crucially important. Consumers must begin to

understand that they will save money over the long haul by spending a little extra upfront on higher quality products, rather than going for something cheap and disposable that will need to be replaced after a year or two. Government can also play a role, enacting legislation to encourage manufacturers to use more durable materials and designs that allow for easier repairs. It’s going to require a lot of effort and a lot of willingness to change from all sectors of society: government, business, and private citizens. But these are goals within our reach, and the reward will be a better and healthier environment, as well as a stronger and more sustainable economy. ●● David McRobert is a Barrister and Solicitor based in Peterborough, Ontario. He was In-house Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor to the office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 1994-2010 and has worked on waste reduction issues and climate change since the mid 1980s. Meghan Robinson is a paralegal based in Peterborough, Ontario and currently attending the Environmental and Resource Management Program at Trent University.


TWD Introduces the 50 Million Pound Pilot Project by / Textile Waste Diversion Image © Can Stock Photo Inc. / kkymek

Over the last decade,

much has been done to reshape how Canada views its waste—it has gone from a liability to an economic energizing resource. Commodities such as tires, e-waste, and lightbulbs now dominate the agenda. Given that textiles comprise only six per cent of landfill, it has been left as a last priority, meaning very little research has been done on how Canadians consume and then manage their textile waste. All of the statistics used in Canada are borrowed from American EPA research, under the assumption that Canadians behave similarly. But we don’t know for sure. Over the years, textile waste diversion (TWD) has become specialized in building large textile waste collection routes very quickly across the province. We’ve turned every new route into a case study, tracking the productivity of our community clothing donation bins. We have done internal comparative studies on the productivity of urban versus rural bins, and even more detailed reports on productivity levels in relation to population density, visible exposure, and vehicular traffic access. Over time we have used the data to develop an informal proprietary algorithm that we use when plotting all of our expansions from community clothing donation bins, to charity reverse logistics services, depots, to multi-unit dwelling collection, to home and curb-side collection. Now that we have diversified to include several collection streams, we are curious to know how each stream compares to each other. We would like to learn about area resident preferences

in disposing of used textiles. We want to study Canadian disposal patterns to best develop an infrastructure that would effectively divert more textiles from landfill than the 15% happening now.

allow us to begin the process of bringing new green technology to Canada that would allow us to finally close the loop in textiles, and be the start of a new industry in Canada positioned to thrive in a burgeoning circular economy.

Given TWD’s diverse collection streams, and our growing list of charity, private, and public sector partners, we feel we are best positioned to conduct an independent research study on how Ontario residents specifically consume and manage their textiles. Our goal is to not only learn about how Ontario shops for clothing and other textiles, but how long we use them, and how we prefer to manage their disposal once we are finished with an item. We are going to compare the differences between urban and rural communities in relation to textile waste. Does population density require different solutions?

How will it work?

We do not believe that developing municipal infrastructure for Ontario can be done wisely by using American statistics. We believe that efficiency comes with proper research conducted locally. We understand this may be a cost prohibitive undertaking for most communities, and given that we already have the infrastructure to facilitate such a study, we believe this is a value added service TWD can offer both governments and communities. Through this pilot project, not only do we aim to collect proper data, but our goal is to divert 50 million pounds of textiles from landfill in the next 12 months. Reducing the landfill by 50 million pounds in one year would create a substantial number of jobs, reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by 200 million lbs, and more importantly,

In each community where the pilot will be running, we will use our algorithm to determine the top collection streams worth studying in the community. That infrastructure will be implemented and monitored closely. Quarterly reports and a yearly and comparative study will be created from that and presented to pilot partners. An article summarizing the report will be made available to the general public. In some areas, we will be running this pilot project on behalf of municipal governments, and this will include curbside collection. In other communities, this project will be run independently, in partnership with commercial and multi-unit property owners as well as organizations like local BIAs and registered charities, and through offering services such as expanded home collection. Our first independent pilot study is being done in Welland, Ontario. In the coming weeks, selected area residents will be receiving literature in the mail inviting them to participate in the pilot project. Selected commercial and multi-unit property managers as well as potential private sector partners will also be receiving invitations. We thank everyone in advance for their generous participation! We intend to release our first quarterly report in December, 2016. ●● » August / September 2016 » 27


Combating Textile Waste with the Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Photos submitted by Sabine Weber

By / Sabine Weber


Earth Week and Fashion Revolution Day in an elementary school this year, students were asked to assess their wardrobe: to count their clothes and comment on the number they own. The average was 106 and the median was 73. While some students had as few as 17 garments, others had wardrobes numbering in the hundreds. One even had as many as 451 garments. Even from a young age, children are accustomed to having more clothes than they’ll ever need or want. Many of these clothes, they admit, they’ll never even wear. Some expressed surprise about their number, some were even distressed. Clothes came from two sources: purchased new by relatives, or handed down by friends and family. Though second-hand may be common among children, adults are much less interested in the idea of wearing reused clothing. Nonetheless, they remain 28 » Solid Waste & Recycling

interested in having lots of clothes, even if they never wear them. The average consumer purchases clothing like groceries—at a rate of about 1.2 garments per week, roughly 64 a year, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association. Garments are worn frequently during the first year when purchased, but fewer than half of garments are still worn on a regular basis after the second year. After that, garments are usually donated when only gently used and in good condition, as the charities request. The overwhelming remainder is discarded. On average, a person generates up to 81 pounds of textile waste annually, with 85 percent ending up in our landfills. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, only 15 percent is collected from clothing donations and diverted.

Currently, 7.5 percent of the diverted textiles are converted or recycled. Only 6.75 percent of diverted textiles are reused, adds the Council for Textile Recycling—an even smaller fraction of which is reused in Canada. The majority of this reused material is shipped to developing countries. We need to get used to donating everything for textile recycling, no matter the condition. Additionally, those gently used clothes should be reused locally. This means getting used to wearing second-hand again like when we were young. To increase textile diversion requires the creation of both a culture of reuse and a textile recycling industry. From a waste management perspective, the ideal waste diversion strategy would be to produce less waste, which would mean having fewer clothes in the first place, seeking second-hand clothes and using them as long as possible, and


recycling garments at the end of their life cycle. Municipalities need to get involved in the collection of textiles. First, by letting consumers know that each garment no matter its condition is collected. Second, by expanding their responsibilities to foster a second-hand market for textiles by providing the means for flea markets and swap events to take place. Third, to encourage research and development on how to recycle textile waste. It takes time to convince consumers to make informed decisions when they buy new garments, to use these garments as long as possible, and to get excited about second-hand clothes. However, doing so, and giving consumers the means to recycle their unwanted clothes would reduce consumption, reduce waste, and allow one person’s old garments to become another’s new treasure. Value Village has recognized that there is a need for action to get more textiles out of landfills. In order to learn more about the perceptions and behaviours of people in the U.S. and Canada about reuse, they commissioned Edelman Intelligence to conduct an online survey in 2016 with more than 3000 people. The key findings provide valuable information for municipalities designing textile diversion programs:

3.  Americans vastly underestimate the amount of used clothing and accessories they send to landfills each year: They report throwing away 4.7 trash bags worth, while the actual amount is nearly double at 8.1 trash bags. 4.  Of people who do not donate used goods, one in three say it’s just more convenient to throw these items away. 5. More than half of North Americans surveyed say they are more likely to reuse clothing after hearing about the significant environmental impact of textile manufacturing. 6. Nearly half of North Americans say they would donate more if they knew their donation would help nonprofits they support. 7.  Ninety-four percent of North Americans believe the concepts behind reuse should be taught in

schools to increase sustainable habits in future generations. The following photos of Value Village’s art installation were taken June 21 in Toronto. The installation was part of the Rethink Reuse Summit, where Value Village/Savers presented the results of its study. The Installation is based on finding number 5: More than half of North Americans surveyed say they are more likely to reuse clothing after hearing about the significant environmental impact of textile manufacturing. The installation in the centre of Toronto was an awareness campaign showing how much water is needed to produce a garment. The “towers” symbolize water fountains, and pedestrians were invited to take home a free, second-hand T- shirt with the Rethink Reuse logo on it. ●●

1.  Almost half of North Americans believe they have too much stuff. 2.  Overflowing closets are the No. 1 prompt for people to donate their unwanted clothing. » August / September 2016 » 29

●● technology

Solving the Number One Problem in SSO Management

By / John Nicholson, M.Sc., P.Eng.

Raising a Stink Whether it’s aerobic composting or anaerobic digestion of source separated organics, the number one issue that faces any large-scale operation is odour. It is unavoidable. Based on my quick survey of SSO operations across the country, there isn’t one that can claim that it hasn’t had at least one odour complaint. The Cost of the Problem More than one SSO operations manager has told me that the key to odour management starts before the facility is even built. A complaint free facility is one located far away from any residence. Co-locating at a landfill or in an industrial park with other potential odour-causing industries is a good secondary choice. The plant layout and design is the other key issue to success odour management. One odour causing source at a facility that has been overlooked in the past has been incoming trucks. The facility itself has managed the odours but the queue of trucks waiting to enter facility creates a line source of odour. Once a neighbour has the local bylaw officer or provincial environment ministry on speed dial, every malodours whiff they smell is sure to be registered as a complaint. The cost of to fix the problem could be insurmountable, especially if neighbours also live adjacent to the incoming truck route. At least one Ontario-based composting

operation made the tough decision to abandon its million dollar investment rather than invest further in odour control solutions that would likely not appease neighbours. The company found that the majority of the complaints stemmed from the odours emitted from incoming trucks, and not the facility itself. Doing it Right One Canadian organic process facility that has made considerable investment to in odour issues is StormFisher, located in London, Ontario. The anaerobic facility takes in 100,000 of organic waste per year and anaerobic digests it, resulting in 2.85 MW of renewable energy being generated along with organic-based fertilizer. The facility was built in 2008 at a cost of $15 million. A major upfront investment made by StormFisher to control odours was the

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facilities receiving area. It is located indoors and operates under negative pressure so that odours can’t escape. The air from the receiving area is subsequently treated to remove any odours. StormFisher also recognized that it is difficult to control what can’t be accurately measured. It invested in the world’s most advanced real-time odour measurement platform for its facility – OdoWatch from Quebec-based Odotech. The key to an OdoWatch platform is the electronic nose that was developed at the University of Montreal in the 1990s. It contains an array of 16 metal-oxide-semiconductor sensors optimized for the odours of the site. An e-nose samples the air at an odour source at a facility 24 hours a day. The data collected from the e-nose is transmitted to the Central Control Unit where proprietary software merges it with the meteorological data to model the atmospheric dispersion of odours. The end result is continuous monitoring the odours from a specific facility and real-time visual images of the odour plume from the facility. Continued on page 34

Regulatory Developments Across Canada Yukon Amends Recycling Regulations Amendments to the Beverage Container Regulation, which stipulates surcharges and refunds on products like pop cans, juice bottles, and alcoholic beverage containers, were filed in May, 2016. The amendments simplify the Beverage Container Regulation and add milk products and milk substitutes (like soy milk and rice milk) to the containers included in the Beverage Container Regulation. The amendments will require payment of 35 cents for any beverage container larger than 750 ml, and will provide for a 25 cent refund when the container is brought to a processing facility. Containers smaller than 750 ml, including beer bottles and all milk and milk substitute products, will have a 10 cent surcharge, with a 5 cent refund on return. The money collected will help cover processing costs for recycling of the containers. The new fees mean there will be no cost for disposal of these items at landfills.

●● policy and law by / Rosalind H. Cooper

consultation with stakeholders and the Yukon public. Despite the fact that these regulations were filed in May, 2016, the Government of Yukon announced that it intended to postpone implementation of the amended recycling regulations until August 1, 2017 to provide additional discussion time with stakeholders. New Recycling Rules for Compost Facilities in B.C. The Ministry of the Environment in British Columbia has announced amendments to the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation under the Environmental Management Act and the Public Health Act. The Organic Matter Recycling Regulation governs production, quality, and land application of certain types of organic matter and sets requirements for compost facilities with respect to construction and operation; leachate management; odour management; capacity; and, process and quality criteria.

The Designated Material Regulation, which includes surcharges for some types of vehicle tires, was also expanded in May, 2016 to include more tire sizes, electronics, and electrical products. Some examples of such surcharges are: $7-$50 for tires, depending on the size; $15 for desktop computers; $12 for printers; $2 for phones; $8 for microwave ovens; and, $1 for clocks and fans.

The amendments will require that compost facilities that process food wastes or bio-solids obtain permits from the Ministry of the Environment. There is an exception for facilities that are part of a regional district’s approved solid waste management plan and that already have a Ministryissued operational certificate. Also, onfarm composting in accordance with Agriculture Waste Control Regulation is not affected by these changes.

Both these regulations fall under Yukon’s Environment Act, enforced by the Department of Environment, and the Department of Community Services, as the authority responsible for territorywide solid waste management. The amendments made were based on established systems in other Canadian jurisdictions and input received through

The intention is that the permits will contain terms and conditions to address site-specific requirements and those conditions will be intended to reduce environmental impacts, reduce odour issues, and address public notification requirements under the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation.

Those facilities with the capacity to produce more than 5,000 tonnes of compost per year have 60 days to apply for a permit. The permit application fee is $200, but once the permit is approved, there is an additional $100 annual fee for facilities that have a permit. Any facilities that fail to apply for the permit within the 60-day period or fail to comply with permit conditions may be subject to enforcement action under the Environmental Management Act. The permit requires the submission of an operational plan, an environmental impact study, an odour management plan; a leachate management plan, a public notification report, and a First Nations engagement report. The odour management plan requires odour predictions for various activities in the process, procedures to minimize odours at each stage of the process, aeration process, mitigation methods, odour complaint procedures, and contingency procedures in the event of ongoing odour issues. The leachate management plan must include control and treatment of leachate, prevention of various forms of precipitation from generating excess leachate, and minimization of leachate and reuse when possible to minimize or eliminate effluent disposal. Further revisions to the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation are being considered with a comprehensive review of the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation underway. That review will be released for public comment in the fall of 2016 and subsequent amendments are targeted for 2017. ●● » August / September 2016 » 31

●● mergers

Preparing for a Due Diligence Review When you are preparing to sell your business, you should have an independent reviewer look at your company to ensure you are prepared for the due diligence review (DDR) that will be conducted on behalf of the purchaser. Many potential business sales fall through or are renegotiated when the DDR reveals undisclosed information or the closing is delayed while these issues are resolved. In a recent discussion with James Phillipson, a founding principal of Mastermind Solutions Inc., he said, “In the ongoing day-to-day running of a business, many potential obstacles may have been accepted by the current owners and are not top-of-mind, but will likely be discovered in the DDR process. The seller can obtain a much better outcome by determining the likely issues and strategizing and preparing for a smoother DDR.” There is a large amount of documentation, (hard copy and electronic) that is required for a DDR, regardless of the size of business. Murphy’s Law dictates that a DDR will interfere with some of monthend, quarter-end, year-end, budget preparation, vacations, etc. Preparing in advance by anticipating what will be required is going to facilitate a smooth process with a minimum of delays. The management team should assemble a data room or space for all the documents that are likely to be required by the DDR.

In preparation for annual financial statements, many mid-sized businesses allow for the accounting processes to stop short of the adjustments that will be provided by the external accountant. Where these entries include a routine “clean up,” this can delay the DDR as the reviewers calculate the true results and cash flows. The pre-DDR will identify the adjustments and implement processes to ensure that these become part of the routine accounting to avoid delaying the DDR. In addition, the DDR consultant will report back to their client, the potential purchaser, on all that they discover so it makes sense to be prepared. In my discussion with Phillipson he stated that “in many mid-sized businesses three factors often have not kept pace with the growth of the business: descriptions of responsibilities, approach to documentation, and processes. These will reflect on the quality of management.” A pre-DDR review will identify many areas of weakness and give the selling management an opportunity to take steps to remedy the issues so that they will no longer become issues during the DDR. The quality of management, processes, and controls will inevitably influence how readily documentation is available at the outset, how the issues that arise and requests for additional documentation are dealt with, and the perspective gained in reviewing the material provided. This will speed up

Let’s talk trash! 2cg Waste Audits • Waste Diversion Planning • Stewardship Organics • Food Waste Reduction Paul van der Werf, M.Sc. 519-645-7733

32 » Solid Waste & Recycling

by / Mark Borkowski

@2cg @allfoodisfood

Waste Management Consulting Services







the DDR and reduce the risk of the issues giving rise to renegotiation of the purchase price. Of course, there will always be issues arising in a DDR, in fact many. How the vendor responds can have a material impact on the results. Preparation for a DDR reduces the risk of the DDR continuing for a longer period, which has a much larger impact on the seller than the purchaser. It is common for the vendor and staff to allow the dayto-day operation of the business to slip. They might be de-motivated as they anticipate a change in management and staffing and are overworked or feel scrutinized as they attend to the many issues that arise. As a DDR extends over a period, from a few weeks to a few months, the reviewer will maintain a vigilant eye on the key performance indicators of the business. If they start slipping it will provide fodder for the purchaser to renegotiate the purchase price to reflect those lower results and the increased risk to the purchaser. ●● Mark Borkowski is president of Toronto-based Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corporation. Mercantile specializes in the sale of Canadian midmarket businesses. He can be contacted at http://

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Geesinknorba Spain Showcases Six New Products at Tem Tecma 2016 Geesinknorba’s GPM IV 20H25 rear loader of 20 cubic metres capacity On June 15–17, 2016, Geesinknorba Spain participated in the Spanish environmental exhibition – Tem Tecma – held at the Fira de Madrid Ifema exhibition centre in Madrid. The company had a large stand at the exhibition, which showcased six new, innovative products. On display was a Geesinknorba GPM IV 20H25 rear loader of 20 cubic metres capacity. The unit was fitted with a GCB 1000 split lift with both DIN type trunnion arms DIN 30700 – and comb bar – DIN 30740 for the emptying of wheeled containers. It featured the SmartPack system, which helps to improve the vehicle’s fuel consumption by 30 per cent. The GPM IV 20H25 unit was mounted onto a DAF CF 290 Euro 6 6x2 threeaxle mid steer chassis of 25, 500kgs GVW. The chassis also featured the Allison 3000 Series automatic transmission to reduce driver fatigue in the stop start operations involved with waste collection. The vehicle has been sold to SELEKT TRUCKS, a Spanish division of the Dutch-owned Cleanmat company and will be available for short-, medium-, or long-term hire to municipalities and private contractors across Spain for collecting municipal, commercial, and industrial wastes.

●● around the world by / Timothy Byrne

Rossi A Rossi R200 satellite waste collection vehicle of seven cubic metres capacity was also displayed. The unit featured a comb/trunnion bin lifter to empty wheeled containers from 80–1100 litres capacity compliant with DIN 30700 and DIN 30740 specifications. The Rossi R200 waste collection vehicle has been mounted onto an Isuzu NQR Euro 6 7.5 tonne 4x2 two-axle chassis complete with the Isuzu NEES 2 Easyshift semi-automatic transmission. The R200 unit is ideal for collecting waste and recyclables in narrow streets in Spanish towns and cities. An AMS CL1 – 24N side loader of 24 cubic metres capacity was also exhibited. This unit has the capability of emptying static type side loader containers of 2,200 and 3,200 litres capacities. It has been mounted onto an Iveco Stralis AD 330 Euro 6 6x2 rear steer three axle 26 tonne chassis complete with the Allison 3000 Series automatic transmission. The vehicle has been sold to the Empresa Publica Del Excmo – Ayuntamiento de Sagunto, a publicly-owned environmental services company serving the community of northern Valencia. The vehicle will collect both municipal and recyclable wastes. A Kiggen PD1015 static compactor was also on display. This featured a comb/ trunnion lifter for emptying 80–1100 litre wheeled containers compliant with DIN 30700 and DIN 30740 standards. The PD1015 compactor can handle a wide range of municipal, commercial, and industrial wastes, which the unit will compress into 20, 30, 35, and 40 cubic yard enclosed roll-on-off containers. The unit clamps the containers to the compaction module for the loading of wastes to commence and uses the SmartPack system to complement the

Smart Cities concept. The SmartPack system helps to improve the electrical efficiency of the unit when compressing waste so that only the required amount of energy is used when the compaction module is in operation. Boschung Geesinknorba Spain have recently become agents across Spain for the Boschung range of small pavement and large truck mounted sweeping machines. On the stand at the Tem Tecma exhibition, a Boschung S2 articulated pavement sweeper was exhibited. It had a capacity of two cubic metres to contain litter and street sweeping debris. Its overall gross vehicle weight was 3,500kgs and it can carry a net payload of 1,500kgs. The S2 unit is ideal for street cleaning duties in Spanish towns and cities. Tecme A Tecme Minilimp bin washer was another exhibit on the Geesinknorba Spain stand at the Tem Tecma exhibition. The Tecme range of bin washers has recently been added to the Geesinknorba Spain product range with the company becoming Spain’s national sales distributors for their product range. The unit exhibited had a water tank capacity of 2,600 litres and a comb/trunnion bin lifter fitted to handle wheeled containers from 80–1100 litres capacity compliant with DIN 30700 and DIN 30740 specifications. The bin washer was mounted onto an Isuzu NQR Euro 6 7.5 tonne 4x2 two axle chassis complete with an Isuzu six speed manual transmission. Continued on page 34 » August / September 2016 » 33

●● advertiser index News

Continued from page 7

from rapidly renewable materials. Right now there are biodegradable six-pack rings, utensils made from sugar cane, and single-use plastic glasses made from corn. Additional packaging in grocery stores will only work against municipal solid waste goals of decreasing waste initiatives. However, with a coordinated effort between government and industry, the upward waste generation trend can be handled in a manageable way. ●●


Continued from page 8

Conference is at the International Centre on November 9 and 10. If you have any questions or would like more information, log on to OWMA. org/events or email conference manager Michele Goulding at mgoulding@ ●●

Plastic Easting Worms Continued from page 18

plastic degradation and the enzymes that break down polymers. This, in turn, could help scientists engineer more powerful enzymes for plastic degradation, and guide manufacturers in the design of polymers that do not accumulate in the environment or in food chains. Criddle’s plastics research was originally inspired by a 2004 project to

evaluate the feasibility of biodegradable building materials. That investigation was funded by the Stanford Woods Institute’sEnvironmental Venture Projects seed grant program. It led to the launch of a company that is developing economically competitive, nontoxic bioplastics. ●● Co-authors of the papers, “Biodegradation and Mineralization of Polystyrene by Plastic-Eating Mealworms. 1. Chemical and Physical Characterization and Isotopic Tests” and “Biodegradation and Mineralization of Polystyrene by Plastic-Eating Mealworms. 2. Role of Gut Microorganisms,” include Yu Yang, Jun Yang, Lei Jian, Yiling Song and Longcheng Gao of Beihang University, and Jiao Zhao and Ruifu Yang of BGI-Shenzhen. Reprinted with permission from Stanford University Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Photo credit: Mealworms munch on Styrofoam, a hopeful sign that solutions to plastics pollution exist. Wei-Min Wu, a senior research engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, discovered the larvae can live on polystyrene. (Image credit: Yu Yang)

Technology Continued from page 30

Most organics facility operators are hesitant to purchase an OdoWatch System mainly due the initial cost of a full-scale platform that includes electronic noses and continuous monitoring platform with weather station and emissions modelling. However, operators with a commitment to odour control and the understanding that accurate, real-time measurement of odour is both possible and useful, quickly realize an OdoWatch Platform is worth the investment.

Besides StormFisher, Odotech also has an OdoWatch Platform system installed at Complexe environmental St-Michel compost facility in Montreal. The complex includes the public park, a recyclable materials recovery facility, a biogas power plant, a composting site, and a landfill. The St-Michel OdoWatch system is set up so that the site operator will receive an alert on his smartphone when specific odour thresholds have reached the community. This allows the operator to take immediate action to identify the source of the odour at the facility and take mitigative actions. ●●

Around the World Continued from page 33

P.F.G. The final exhibit on the Geesinknorba Spain stand was a P.F.G. beach cleaner. P.F.G. has recently made Geesinknorba Spain the official distributor across Spain for its range of beach cleaning equipment. The model exhibited was the Squalo with a net weight of 1105kgs. In conclusion, Geesinknorba Spain had six very innovative pieces of waste collection, waste transfer, bin washing, and street and beach cleaning equipment exhibited on their stand. These pieces of equipment distributed by Geesinknorba Spain demonstrate sustainable waste collection, waste transfer, bin washing, and street and beach cleaning equipment combined with the Smart Cities concept. The whole product range is supported by a national network of service/spares agents across Spain. ●●

Advertiser Index Company


2cg Waste Management Consulting Inc.



Bulk Handling Systems



CW Mill Equipment



Paradigm Software, LLC



Van Dyk Recycling Solutions



Waste & Recycling Expo Canada


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Solid Waste & Recycling August / September 2016  
Solid Waste & Recycling August / September 2016