New Blue Box glass processing plant in GTA will save area municipalities millions in recycling program operating costs



    TORONTO, March 3 /CNW/ - Five Toronto area municipalities will save on
the cost of operating their recycling programs thanks to a new glass
processing plant scheduled to open its doors in Brampton this summer.
    Stewardship Ontario announced today that it has a deal with Canadian
recycled glass processor, Unical, Inc. to build the plant in the GTA. 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 programs.
    To support the development of this new market for blue box coloured 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 under 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 tonnes
of mixed (coloured 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 tonnes," said Andre Racine,
president of Unical. "We're expecting we'll make rapid progress toward our
capacity of 120,000 tonnes 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.
    "In these days of belt-tightening and rationalizing every tax dollar
spent on municipal services, these savings in our waste management portfolio
are both welcome and needed," said York's Regional Chair, Bill Fisch. York
will save in the range of $2 million over seven years, too.
    Durham Councillor Charlie Trim said the savings would allow his region to
focus on other waste diversion activities, calling it "a win for the
environment."
    Hamilton Councillor Russ Powers agreed, saying the deal is "an excellent
example of how public-private partnerships can benefit both parties. In this
case, it will lead to improvements in our waste management program."
    City of Toronto representative, Steve Whitter, who is director of
transfer, processing and landfills said he expects the amount of glass Toronto
ships to the Unical plant will increase significantly after the city fully
launches its new recycling and garbage bin program. "We know from the
experience of other cities that recycling rates climb when the rollout bins
are introduced."
    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.





For further information:

For further information: Backgrounder: available on Stewardship Ontario
website (www.stewardshipontario.ca); Media Contact: Barbara McConnell,
Stewardship Ontario, Communications, (647) 777-3362, Cel: (416) 452-2373

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