Waste Advisory Group advises City in final report|
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The New and Emerging Technologies, Policies and Practices Advisory Group was
established in 2003 by Council directive. Comprised of both citizens and
experts, the Advisory Group was asked to review and provide advice on the
adoption of new and emerging technologies, policies and practices needed to
help manage the City of Toronto's residual solid waste. Various methods of
treatment were reviewed and discussed including physical, biological and
thermal processes, and new policies and practices to increase source-based
diversion were studied and recommended to Council. At the conclusion of its
two-year mandate, the Advisory Group presented the City with its final report.
The report addresses three key strategic issues that were first presented in
the City's Task Force 2010 Report approved by Council in 2001:
Issue 1: Is 100 per cent diversion from landfill by 2010 achievable through the
use of new and emerging technologies, policies and practices?
The goal of 100 per cent diversion from landfill by 2010 is not achievable.
Based on existing provincial regulations, a diversion rate of approximately 88
per cent could potentially be achieved using a mix of new and emerging
mechanical and advanced thermal technologies together with source-based
diversion programs. Based on existing provincial regulations, approximately 75
per cent is possible using biological processing in combination with
source-based diversion programs.
If provincial environmental regulations are revised to permit the use of bottom
ash from gasification or char from pyrolysis operations, approximately 96 per
cent is possible. If provincial environmental regulations are revised to permit
the routine use of low quality compost, a diversion rate of approximately 86
per cent could be achieved using mechanical and biological processes. Any
decision on the adoption of such technologies for processing Toronto's residual
waste must be based on their environmental performance, reliability and cost
through a full environmental assessment (EA).
Issue 2: Is the 60 per cent - 40 per cent split between traditional source
reduction (reuse, recycling, composting) and introduction of new and emerging
technologies, policies and practices reasonable?
With the full and aggressive implementation of the policies and practices
currently implemented by the City, along with new policies and practices
recommended by the Advisory Group, the City should be able to achieve
source-based diversion from landfill of between 50 and 60 per cent, and quite
possibly higher, by 2010.
Regardless of the exact level of diversion that will be achieved, which will
only be known once new policies and practices are fully implemented, there will
be a continuing need to process and/or dispose of a significant amount of
Issue 3: What should be the next steps for the City to achieve its diversion
For the City to move beyond the expected 40 per cent diversion rate by 2006
with its currently approved diversion programs, the Advisory Group recommends:
1. The City should fully and aggressively implement new policies and practices,
such as those recommended by the Advisory Group and City staff, to
significantly increase source-based diversion from landfill. These should
include the strong promotion of existing and new diversion programs.
2. The City should immediately establish a Waste Diversion Working Group to
oversee the planning, design, implementation, promotion and monitoring of
source-based diversion programs. This group should report directly to the
Works Committee and include members of the public, City staff, frontline
collection workers, and possibly Works Committee members.
3. The City should move ahead expeditiously with a full environmental
assessment, including the formation of a public advisory committee that reports
directly to the Works Committee to direct the EA process. Given the
significant public concerns about various potential solutions to the City's
waste management problems, the EA process needs to be innovative, thoughtful,
well managed and fully transparent.
Over the two-year mandate of service, the Advisory Group held 57 meetings, all
of which were open to the general public as observers. It passed over 30
recommendations and resolutions concerning new policies and practices to
increase diversion, the use of new and emerging technologies to process
residual wastes, and the need to carry out an environmental assessment on
long-term solutions to manage the City's solid wastes. The group also advised
the City on the drafting of a Request for Expressions of Interest for
technologies, a Request for Qualifications for new and emerging technologies,
and a Request for Proposals for an EA consultant.
The formation of the Advisory Group was a result of public input received at
four public consultation events that occurred during 2002. Based on the input
received, City staff developed objectives, composition and governance
procedures. To ensure impartiality, each member signed a 'financial conflict of
interest declaration' to ensure that neither the individual, business or
association may benefit financially from the group's recommendations. Two
co-chairs were selected, one from the expert component and the other from the
The Advisory Group's work is summarized in its Final Report available on-line
Brian Howieson, Advisory Group Expert Co-Chair, 905-713-1149
Elaine Lepage, Advisory Group Citizen Co-Chair, 416-595-3023