Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
International Composting Corporation, who are finding that the markets for compost are just as sluggish and fickle as the markets for paper and plastic and are looking for alternative uses for organic wastes.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
We cautioned that single-stream recycling is a bad idea because the materials lose value when they are all mixed up together. The perceived benefits (simpler for the public, larger quantities of material collected) are more than offset by the disadvantages.
The current economic downturn is putting communities that collect recyclables in a single stream at even greater risk.
Recyclers across North America are reporting that recycling markets are tanking. Because of reduced consumer demand, there is also reduced producer demand for recycled materials. This means recycling markets are becoming very picky about quality.
A consultant who works with recycling brokers just stated on a recycling listserv that "quality is a huge issue right now and commingled
recyclables do not hold as high a value than single stream collected."
Another consultant who works with the paper industry confirmed: "domestic paper mills are now able to drive down the prices they pay for fiber and they can now choose among sources for the highest quality. This means that single stream processors with commingled bales of fiber are in the weakest position and they're the ones scrambling for storage facilities because they're having trouble selling their materials. Clean, sorted fibers have the widest market options. Only a limited subset of mills can use commingled fibers, so the more processors that produce that, the more limited their options."
Even before the economic downturn, a 2002 study by Eureka Recycling in the US found: "Single-stream collection — where all recyclables are put in one container — proved to be more expensive because a lot of sorting is required before the materials go to market. It also resulted in higher contamination and more materials being thrown out."
Citizens need to inform themselves about the reality of recycling markets and educate the public and their elected representatives about the importance of keeping materials clean and separate.Pic: Eureka Recycling
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
pic: Opening Day at the new Courthouse Square, May 2002
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
But British Columbia and then Alberta took a strong stand.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The tall black bar that looks like an incinerator stack represents over half-a-million tonnes of throw-away products and packaging that will become dirty "fuel" in Metro's plan. The smaller black bars, including one representing 60% of the compostable organics in our waste in 2035, will also be burned.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Is this where we want our money spent?
Friday, October 10, 2008
Pic: Deliberative Democracy Handbook
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Pic: Eco-friendly graffiti in Greece
Saturday, October 4, 2008
- has the retail industry has reported a baseline (the number of bags used now) for us to measure their progress against?
- will the industry be reporting to the ministry on their progress?
When industry comes to the table, play -- but make sure there is a referee. I just hope that the grocers won't take their marbles and go home, leaving their bags to "clog up our landfills" (though I'd rather have them stored safely underground than vaporized into the atmosphere in one of Marvin Hunt's planned incinerators).
Zero Waste Vancouver will watchdog this program and hold the industry's feet to the fire if they fall short, just as our friends in Australia are doing. pic: Zero Waste South Australia
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Pic: Greenbag nation
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
It was hard to judge what the 100 people in the room were thinking as they listened to Rod Bryden, Plasco President and CEO. Bryden has a very effective speaking style: quiet, sincere, understated. The audience remained polite and attentive even as the presentation went on for double the allotted time (60 minutes, rather than 30).
Then the members of the Council-appointed Task Force, which is made up of citizens and chaired by Councillor Mike Clay, began posing questions.
For instance, they asked Bryden to clarify Plasco's position on composting. Surprisingly, Bryden suggested that composting is a "sacred cow" and that the city might do better not to spend money separating organics from the garbage and just have them gasified instead.
The organic materials would be "returned" to their "preceding natural elements" just as the other wastes are. And all these simple "elements" would then "recombined" into one product: syngas.
One product that can serve one purpose: producing energy.
(What extreme simplification, it occurred to me. Willing to give up all that diversity and all those opportunities for a quick shot of energy. When will someone notice that energy is the elephant in the room: we've already demonstrated that we don't know how to use energy responsibly ~ now we're willing to burn anything we can get our hands on to make more....)
Bryden was then pressed by members of the audience on his claim that the Plasco facility will have "no stack." People pointed out that the energy generation component of the Plasco facility is combustion of the syngas in an internal combustion engine, a process that cannot occur without a stack to allow the release of carbon dioxide... along with other substances including dioxins, furans and nanoparticles that Bryden had to admit were theoretically possible in the emissions, company predictions notwithstanding.
In response to another question from the audience, it came out that in addition to the stacks there are "flares" for the synthetic fuel to be burned off without producing energy, in the event of a malfunction in the engine.
And malfunction of the equipment was a problem, Bryden admitted under insistant questioning from the audience. When the Ottawa test plant stopped using "surrogate material" and moved on to real garbage, the feeder system jammed up ("crankcase stuck in the shredder") and they had to ship the waiting waste back to the city landfill while they resolved the problem. This is why the test plant was able to process only half the waste the city delivered to it. Welcome to the real world of dirty fuel, Plasco.
Asked if Port Moody's plant could be scaled smaller than the proposed 400 tonnes per day (which is approximately 36 times more waste than is produced by the households in Port Moody), Bryden said they could scale it down some ~ but if they went below 200 tpd it would reduce the "efficiency" and perhaps make the plant uneconomic.
The economics were of interest to the audience who probed, among other things, the $3.6 million dollar "royalty" to Ottawa if Plasco drums up business in other communities.
The audience also posed a question to Councillor Clay: why the rush to complete this enquiry in the summer? Can there be a referendum in the fall election? To which Clay did not shut the door.
If there is a referendum, the process that Clay is leading will be a huge contribution to the process. Hats off to Port Moody, a town of 30,000, for conducting a public "due diligence" process that brings out an audience of this size. And hats off to the good citizens of Port Moody who are taking the trouble to dig for answers before the city signs up.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Niagara Region and the City of Hamilton teamed up four years ago to find a common solution to "a growing global concern: limited landfill space."
"The Mayor Kasamatsu Kasuichi is undeterred: 'We should consider what is right and what is wrong, and I believe it is wrong to send a truck to collect the waste and burn it. That is bad for the environment. So whether I get support or not, I believe I should persuade people to support my policy.'
"Now he invites other politicians around the world to follow suit."
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
They signed a similar deal with Plasco last month ~ but they got a special clause in their agreement. According to the Ottawa Citizen newspaper: "Because [Ottawa] was a partner in testing the technology, it will get royalties of up to $3.5 million a year after Plasco plants have been sold to other countries and cities and are operating."
Both cities claim they have nothing to lose, since Plasco takes on all the risk and the costs. All the cities have to do is pay the tipping fee to drop off their garbage.
This could cause problems for Port Moody.
The proposed Port Moody gasification plant would process 150,000 tonnes of waste each year. This is likely more waste than is generated by the good citizens of Port Moody, and Mayor Trasolini will have to go out and rope in other cities to make up the shortfall.
The Mayor has charged the Port Moody Environmental Protection Committee to go out and sell the project to the public this summer. Instead, will they be lighting a fire that will burn the Mayor in the fall civic elections?