Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Toronto's Trash -- No New Thinking

According to the Toronto Star, the City of Toronto and surrounding regions has been looking for landfill sites in the event Michigan successfully closes its border to our trash, and "the provincial government has been given a report that identifies the Ontario communities where 3.5 million tonnes of GTA garbage could be dumped each year." (Kerry Gillespie, The Toronto Star, 28 September 2005) At the same time that, as usual, our current "leaders" are scrambling to find alternatives to Michigan, they sacked the city's experienced and well-liked general manager of solid waste management, Angelos Bacopoulos, because he advocated incineration, according to the Star's columnist Royson James (26 September 2005). Apparently landfill is better.

In the meantime, our esteemed leaders are ignoring a better solution. It would probably get rid of the ridiculous situation of having turned our homes into garbage sorting facilities and, as well, is far more environmentally friendly than landfill and incineration. Plus it produces usable end products and electricity. Imagine that -- a win-win Canadian waste management technology. It's called SUBBOR. So why has the city ignored it? Beats me. SUBBOR tried to get a test pilot program going about 6 years ago here; they have one in Guelph already, which city upped their diversion rate to 70 percent 2 years ago.

When politicians think with their ideology instead of their minds, they become closed to anything but what they already know. Mayor Miller and company already know incineration sucks because it polluted the air 30 years ago. They have no clue about current incineration technology as used in Europe and don't care. They already know landfill is around, nothing majorly bad has happened, it requires no new thought or new assessment, thus it's easy for them to go that route. They have shown, especially with their reaction to the gun violence this summer, that thinking is not their forte and are incapable of looking at different ideas.

Landfill is a waste of arable land; trucking to landfill pollutes our air and clogs our highways (why trains are not used is beyond me); incineration doesn't provide the electricity and usable products that SUBBOR does; and we need politicians to stop dithering arguing squawking and to start innovating.

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8 comments:

Ray Suelzer said...

I couldn't agree more!
95 percent of waste can be recycled.

Food can be made into fertile dirt.
Plastic, glass, paper, cans can all be re used.
Styrofome can be reused for packaging.
Metals can all be reused.
Computer parts can be recycled.

There should be tax incentives for recycling in Toronto.
If a government agency drops below 80 percent recycling rate they should loose half of their funding until the recycle more.

There are so many practical solutions to the trash problem.

Halifax is a great model for Toronto, they recycle 60 percent of their waste.

Ray Suelzer said...

Also, why doesn't Toronto set up trash centres?

Take all the trash to a facility where it is sorted out.

I have seen this process in action and it is amazing.

The total waste at "Bonnaroo Music Fest" is reducted to about 10 percent. 90 percent can be recycled! I would love to talk with you about Canadian issues.

I am an American who is interested in moving to Canada. Although Canadians have many problems with big government these problems are small compared to Americas. I think that Canada is more receptive to new ideas and thinking than the USA. I would love to help make Canada a truly green country!

talk talk talk said...

I'd forgotten about Halifax's excellent waste management. Although I'm a recycling proponent, I'm tired of being a sorting facility. That's why I like the SUBBOR system -- it does the sorting and does a much better job of processing and recycling ALL the trash.

Toronto has waste transfer stations that take residential trash in addition to commercial. You can take your stuff there, your car gets weighed, you dump your reno trash in the appropriate areas, the rest in the big pile, then get your car reweighed and you're charged appropriately. But most people will not take their trash to central places -- this city is too big, not everyone has a car, and people are way too busy to take the time. That's why the city has comprehensive free curbside pickup checkout the city of Toronto website for details). Evenso, there are still idiots who dump their trash in parks and derelict areas. I have no idea why since pickup is free!

talk talk talk said...

I've had several Americans tell me they want to move here and Canadians rant about how much better it would be to live in the States. Grass is always greener, eh? Speaking of which The Green Party here is dedicated to green issues, though are conservative fiscally.

The Non-Partisan Alliance has a great cross-section of Canadian opinions, and I always try to answer comments, in the hopes of getting a conversation going!

talk talk talk said...

"Computer parts can be recycled."

This has been a constant problem for me. Old computers I give away/sell to friends or family. I'm also aware of some school charities. But what do I do with old toner (only Canon has a mail-in recycling program)? Or with an old handheld that's totally died? If there are programs out there, I'm unaware of them which means the city has done a lousy job of advertising. And if no programs, why not?

Ray Suelzer said...

Yeah, in reality maybe a waste sorting station isn't the best solution.

I want to move to Canada mainly for social reasons. Where I live I can be put in jail for recreating in my preferred way. ;).

Here is some information on recycling electronics.

Noranda seems to have a Toronto facility for recyling electronics.

summer said...

Hi, I am relocating recently and wondering if there's any place I can recycle electronic wastes? Something like radios, DVD /CD disks, batteries, thanks if someone let me know about it

talk talk talk said...

I don't know about electronic wastes, but batteries can be taken to your local transfer station or you can call the "Toxic Taxi" for pickup, although I don't know how well it works and if you need a minimum of items before it will come.

(See http://www.toronto.ca/garbage/hhw.htm)

I hope you enjoy your new home here!