Peel Region Says No to Incineration

Connector Winter 2016

Peel Region cancelled plans to build a new energy-from-waste plant in October, after councillors questioned the need for a pricey project in light of the region’s new aggressive diversion targets.

Peel recently increased its target for reducing, reusing, recycling and composting waste from 60% to 75%, said Brampton regional Councillor Michael Palleschi. The current diversion rate in Peel is 46%.

“The region is now developing a plan to meet this target. Once the region achieves its 3Rs target, there will not be enough garbage left to supply the proposed 300,000-tonnes-per-year facility,” said Palleschi, who brought forward the motion that, on a 17-5 vote, killed the procurement process for the plant. It’s estimated that after recycling, there would be only 150,000 tonnes left for processing.

While many municipalities have been watching the progress of the Durham York Energy Plant in Clarington with keen interest, they are backing away from pursuing a garbage solution that appears to be costly and controversial.

In 2013, the region had approved $500 million toward the Peel Energy Recovery Centre and had spent years and millions of dollars on developing the proposal. But since then, the estimated pricetag had ballooned, according to Norm Lee, Peel’s director of waste. That raised concerns for councillors.

“The latest estimate was over $600 million,” he said, blaming much of the increasing on a worsening U.S. exchange rate and the high cost of parts needed from the U.S.

Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish said that was one of the reasons she voted against it. “We needed to stop the process before any more money was wasted on tendering,” she said. “Burning garbage is a Fred Flintstone technology. The 3Rs are a modern, sustainable treatment for garbage,” she said.

She also expressed concerns about the delays and emissions from the Durham York Energy Centre, the first energy-from-waste plant built in the GTA in decades.

But it’s not the only one around. For two decades, Peel sent much of its garbage to Emerald Energy from Waste — but that agreement ended in 2012. The Brampton incinerator remains open and burns both household and industrial garbage from across the region.

Currently, Peel’s residual garbage is trucked to the Twin Creeks landfill in southwestern Ontario every day, and that can continue to until 2032. Meanwhile, the region’s plans to encourage diversion include moving from weekly to bi-weekly garbage pickup, and moving to anaerobic digestion for its green bin program, which will allow it to include diapers and pet waste.

“Everybody agrees that recycling is better than (energy from waste), from an environmental perspective,” said Lee. “(Energy from waste) should compete with landfilling; it shouldn’t compete with recycling,” he said.

Source: Toronto Star