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Tackling waste

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Everyone produces it. But where can it go?

It’s garbage, plastic bottles, aluminum and tin cans, newspapers, telephone books, cardboard boxes, catalogues, flyers, glass bottles.

On June 25, the Ontario government introduced the “Waste Diversion Act” to develop, implement, operate, and monitor waste diversion programs, and to increase public awareness and participation in programs.

The act established Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) as a corporation.

It is a good piece of legislation that brings together industry and governments to reduce Ontario’s dependency on landfill and incineration. It focuses on reusing materials.

At the last council meeting, Coun. Dave Bourgeault asked a question to determine if the Town of Fort Frances had any programs in place to handle hazardous wastes being collected in households across the community. Those wastes include old household cleansers, paint and paint cans, disposable batteries, car batteries, and more.

Fort Frances did not.

The WDO has business and municipal governments working together to increase recycling by residents, business, and industry. It also sets in place a mechanism to charge various industries for part of the costs of recovering materials they contribute to the Blue Box program.

The WDO also will create additional programs to reduce, reuse, and recycle designated waste. All municipalities will be expected to participate.

Presently, aluminum pop cans in the Blue Box programs are recycled and put back into the system within 60 days. It is a remarkable turnaround. Newsprint collection and recycling in large centres produces a profit for the system while in smaller centres, newsprint operates on almost a break-even point.

Other items--such as glass, cardboard, blister packaging, plastics, and plastic containers--are much more costly to recycle.

Mechanical sorting and screening systems are proving to be more effective and reliable than manual sorting systems.

Other programs and systems will be developed. Hazardous wastes must be taken into account, and programs will have to be developed in communities such as Fort Frances to handle those materials.

It also creates a business opportunity to establish a modern recycling facility that can collect and handle hazardous wastes.

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