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September 30, 2009
City fires contractor found landfilling Green Bin materials
  
Halton Recycling, which yesterday admitted to sending a small portion of Green Bin organic materials to landfill without the City of Toronto’s knowledge, has had its contract terminated. The company sent six or seven truckloads of organics to landfill in Michigan during the week of September 14 to 18, 2009. The City will also seek financial redress against the company for services not performed.

Under the terms of its contract with the City of Toronto, Halton Recycling was required to receive Green Bin organics and process them into a material that is ultimately turned into compost.

“This is a direct breach of our contract and we take this breach extremely seriously,” said Geoff Rathbone, General Manager of Solid Waste Management Services. “While the amount of material is small, our expectation, and the expectation of our residents, is that these organics are processed to be turned into compost. The City places an important public trust in the hands of its contractors and expects that trust to be upheld.”

Halton Recycling, one of several external processors used by the City to process Green Bin organics, has previously received about five to seven percent of the City’s total annual Green Bin tonnage. The material sent to landfill consisted of about two tenths of one percent of Toronto’s annual total.

All of the external processors in Ontario contracted by the City are fully permitted by the Ministry of the Environment and produce only, as a requirement of their operating permit, Class A unrestricted-use compost. These processors are also subject to planned and random inspections by City staff and Ministry regulators. In fact, City staff inspected the Halton Recycling facility on September 4, 2009. In addition, the City conducts regular audits of the organics processing system to ensure the integrity of the entire process. The City will now review its procedures and develop new measures to enhance oversight throughout the process and further ensure that contractual conditions are being fully met.

The City of Toronto currently has one organics processing facility and is planning to build two new ones using the same design. Together, these processing operations will handle more than two thirds of Toronto’s long term organics processing requirements. However, the past seven years of Green Bin operations has demonstrated that the City of Toronto must plan for and have excess processing capacity available to accommodate such variables as plant maintenance, breakdowns or other delays, including seasonal fluctuations and peak holiday periods such as Christmas. Therefore, the remaining tonnage will be processed by contractors who will continue to face strict performance standards.

Solid Waste Management Services will be reporting to City Council in November on the processing of Green Bin organics. The division will outline the steps it intends to take to enhance its oversight measures for contractors in that report.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and livability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Geoff Rathbone, General Manager, Solid Waste Management Services,
416-392-4715, grathbo@toronto.ca



 

 

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