Newmarket plans to take legal steps to halt operations at Halton Recycling Ltd.’s plant in that city, which is just north of Toronto. The facility currently processes about 20,000 tonnes of organic waste generated by Toronto’s green bin curbside organics collection program. Nearby residents, including the Greater Toronto Area headquarters of the RCMP, have complained about ongoing odor incidents. The plant is said to have been plagued by technical glitches coping with the varied batches (three tractor-trailer loads per day) of smelly material it must process.
Twenty families in Newmarket have established a group to oppose the plant operations, and have started an independent fund to hire their own lawyer.
When Toronto’s green bin program started in 2003, the city signed a contract with the Newmarket plant to handle 70,000 tonnes of organic waste in its closed-vessel system. Containment of odors was one of the benefits anticipated with the new technology, which is similar to operations that function successfully in Europe. However, a series of startup problems prevented the company from being able to handle to the 70,000 tonnes it had agreed to accept, so Toronto began shipping more than two-thirds of the material to two compost plants in Quebec at a cost of $130 per tonne.
Toronto would like to eventually ship all of the originally agreed-upon green bin waste volume to Halton Recycling, and the company would like to be able to process that amount, after spending millions of dollars changing and refurbishing equipment inside the plant, that was previously owned and operated by a different company. But this will only happen if the company can solve its technical challenges. In the meantime, York Region (which contains Newmarket) voted last week to send its organics elsewhere and end all its contracts with Halton Recycling next year.