Greater Toronto Plant to Help Recycling Programs

Five Toronto area municipalities will save on the cost of operating their recycling programs thanks to a new glass processing plant scheduled to open in Brampton this summer.

Stewardship Ontario has a deal with Canadian recycled glass processor, Unical, Inc. to build the plant in the Greater Toronto Area. As a start, it will accept all of the glass bottles and jars recycled in Toronto, Hamilton, and the Regions of Peel, York, and Durham blue box recycling programs.

To support the development of this new market for blue box colored and clear glass, Stewardship Ontario is providing seed money of $1.75 million to Unical to purchase processing equipment.

"One of Stewardship Ontario's mandates is to develop and enhance markets for recyclable materials leading to improvements in system cost efficiencies," said Sandra Banks, vice-chair of the board of directors.

"Most people don't know that Stewardship Ontario is an organization of industry stewards that pays half of the net operating cost of the Ontario blue box program. In the past four years, companies that use packaging and printed paper have contributed or committed more than $188 million to municipalities to help pay recycling costs. In this shared system, both industry and

municipalities have a stake in driving down costs whenever possible," Banks said.

Stewardship Ontario estimates the investment in the Unical plant will be paid back in less than two years. Each of the five municipal partners in the deal stands to save operating costs totaling about $10 million over the seven years of the existing contract. In year one alone, municipal costs savings are estimated to range from $40,000 in Durham, which will deliver the least amount

of glass to Unical, to a high of about $650,000 in Toronto, which will ship the largest amount of glass.

In total, the five municipalities will supply a minimum of 44,000 tons of mixed (colored and clear mixed together) blue box glass. This represents about half of the glass estimated to have been collected in residential recycling programs in all of Ontario in 2007.

"In fact, when this plant is fully operational, it will have capacity to process much more glass than these initial 44,000 tons," said Andre Racine, president of Unical. "We're expecting we'll make rapid progress toward our capacity of 120,000 tons because we'll be almost next door to many

municipalities that generate a lot of blue box mixed glass. That will save on transportation costs alone."

Peel Regional Chair Emil Kolb said, "Glass is and will continue to be an important part of the region's waste diversion equation. This is a good deal for Peel and it's a good deal for the industry members of Stewardship Ontario who help pay for the program." Peel stands to save approximately $250,000 in operation costs in year one and close to $2 million over the seven-year contract.

Racine is optimistic about the future of the plant. He predicts a significant positive shift in the market for post-consumer glass as demand for recycled materials increases.

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