Glass, plastic pile up after recyclers close: report
Published Monday, April 26, 2010 1:10PM EDT
Broken glass and other recyclables are piling up in GTA municipalities after the closure in recent months of three major recyclers, according to reports.
The Canadian Polystyrene Recycling Association closed last month, the Toronto Star reported Monday. The plant was the only dedicated recycler of polystyrene foam in Canada.
Last month's closure was the second in three years for the plant, which recycled foam packaging including coffee cups, egg cartons and meat trays.
The CPRA closure leaves Toronto without a local place to send polystyrene foam products, which it began collecting as recycling in late 2008. The city is now sending some of its polystyrene to the United States.
Unical, a glass recycling plant in Brampton, closed last week because of financial problems, the Star reports. The plant opened less than two years ago in the summer of 2008. It received a startup investment of $1.75 million from Stewardship Ontario when it started.
Toronto sends about 1,250 tons of glass to the plant each month.
Toronto is considering sending its glass to a recycler in Guelph or to one in the U.S. Both options would lead to higher shipping costs.
Other municipalities in the GTA are also affected by the Unical closure.
Peel region is now sending broken glass to a Guelph processor. The region had been sending polystyrene to CPRA and broken glass to Unical in Brampton.
York region sends most of its glass to Green Lane landfill, a landfill southwest of London owned by the city of Toronto. The broken glass is currently used there as an on-site road base, but York region had a future contract with Unical.
In Durham region, the closure of Unical comes as Atlantic Packaging's Whitby plant, which recycled all of the region's newsprint, also suspended operations. To cope with the closures, Durham region is now sending two truckloads of glass each month to a processor in Montreal. As for newsprint, Atlantic is honouring its contract with the region by sending the newsprint to other processors.
Officials with the affected municipalities are calling for changes to the province's Waste Diversion Act. They want to see the makers of recyclable packaging required to fully fund municipal recycling programs.