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Recycling in our Region

Recycling in our Region

In June of this year, the Ontario Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Jim Bradley, released the proposed Waste Reduction Act and an accompanying document entitled Waste Reduction Strategy for Ontario. Unlike household waste, which is generally controlled by municipalities, commercial waste is generally handled by the private sector. Recycling and diversion from landfill of commercial waste has lagged far behind municipal recycling and diversion of residential waste. This proposed legislation seeks, in part, to address the need to increase recycling and diversion of commercial waste.

Although considerable progress has been made in diversion of residential waste in Ontario, only about 12 to 13 per cent of Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (or IC&I) waste – the waste generated by businesses, industry and institutions – is diverted. Clearly, since IC&I waste comprises about 65 per cent of the overall non-hazardous waste stream in Ontario, this is not an environmentally-sustainable approach to waste management. We cannot, and should not, continue to simply dispose of large quantities of IC&I waste, much of which is currently being sent from Ontario to New York State and Michigan for disposal.

The benefits of recycling are clear, and have been recognized by Minister Bradley with this proposed new legislation. Recycling and diversion create new jobs, encourage innovation, protect the environment, and conserve the province’s resources and landfill capacity.

Taggart Miller’s Proposed Capital Region Resource Recovery Centre (CRRRC)

In the fall of 2010, Taggart Miller Environmental Services — a partner-ship of Taggart Investments Inc., and Miller Waste Systems Inc.— announced its intention to begin an environmental assessment to establish an integrated waste management facility to serve the Capital Region – the “Capital Region Resource Recovery Facility” (CRRRC). Since that time, Taggart Miller has undertaken numerous environmental studies examining the feasibility of this facility and has chosen a location south of Hwy 417, east of Boundary Road, adjacent to an existing industrial park. The environmental assessment is well underway.

The CRRRC, if approved, will provide facilities for recovery of resources from waste generated by the IC&I sector (including construction and demolition waste). Projected ultimate diversion rates for the CRRRC are estimated to be between 43 to 57 per cent. Disposal capacity for material that is not diverted is part of the proposal. The CRRRC will serve only the Capital Region and eastern Ontario.

Taggart Miller correctly anticipated that the province would come forward with legislation similar to the proposed Waste Reduction Act, when the partnership conceived the idea for the CRRRC. “The recent announcement by Minister Bradley is exactly what was needed to improve recycling rates in Ontario. We have said from the very beginning that in order to improve diversion and recycling rates in Ontario, individual producers should be held responsible for the end-of-life management of their products including meeting any government-set reduction goals, and that is exactly what the province is proposing,” explained Nigel Guilford, of Miller Waste Systems Inc.

“Our facility, if approved, would provide needed IC&I recycling capacity for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. Furthermore, it is a step towards meeting provincial objectives as reflected in the proposed Waste Reduction Act.”

The Benefits of an Integrated Waste Management Facility in Eastern Ottawa:

In addition to improved recycling and diversion rates for commercial waste, the CRRRC would provide the community with other tangible benefits including:

•  Providing well-paid jobs, needed in the city's east end

•  Injecting upwards of 400 million dollars (including an estimated 130 million dollars of capital expenditures) into the local economy over the life of the project

•  Increasing municipal tax revenue

•  Purchasing services from local business

•  Providing opportunities for research and development into new technologies in waste diversion and recycling

Balancing Local Concerns With The Need To Improve Recycling:

While the need to increase commercial waste diversion and the need for more recycling facilities are self evident – and have now been affirmed by Minister Bradley – the impact of such facilities on existing communities must be taken into account during the environmental assessment process. Based on the recommendation made by the City of Ottawa in relation to the proposal to reopen the Waste Management Carp landfill for an additional 10 years, Taggart Miller is proposing a property value protection plan that would protect eligible property owners within 5 km of the site if they experience a reduction in value on the sale of their property because of the activities of the CRRRC.

Other potential concerns such as protection of groundwater, noise, traffic, air quality – to name a few – are being studied and addressed as part of the environmental assessment. Ultimately, the Ministry of the Environment will decide if the proposed facility meets its rigorous standards and is environmentally safe.

Anyone interested in learning more about the CRRRC, past public consultations, environmental work done to date, and open house materials can visit CRRRC.CA for more information.

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Howard Williamson is the President of Williamson Consulting Inc. Taggart Miller is one of his clients.

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