Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Env. commissioner tackles waste

Ontario’s Environment Commissioner Dianne Saxe says the province has a long way to go to reduce waste to achieveable volumes.

For example, she notes that Nova Scotia keeps all of its organic materials out of landfill sites.

“Food waste in landfills uses up space, causes pollution and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Instead of being landfilled, food waste should be used as a source of renewable energy and a way to repair damaged soils,” says a news release from her office.

An example is Bio-En Power Inc. which generates all the electricity Elmira needs at a plant that is fuelled by food scraps.

“Ontario shouldn’t let businesses (e.g., factories, malls, restaurants and developers) and institutions (e.g., hospitals, universities and schools) keep on creating and landfilling so much waste,” her report says.

“Businesses and institutions only recycle a paltry 15 per cent of their waste, sending 2.2 million tonnes more waste to landfill than residents do each year.

“Landfilled waste causes pollution and squanders valuable resources that should be reused.

“Additionally, lax rules allow businesses to get away with making products and using processes that drive a “take, use once, throw away” mentality; cheaper in the short run, but much more expensive for society over time.”

She praised the Blue Box recycling program, but said it’s far from enough because Ontario is still generating one tonne of waste per person per year, and three-quarters of it ends up in landfills.