Is Your Community About To Get Burned?

by: Liz Benneian Ontario Zero Waste Coalition

Incinerator/Waste-to-Energy corporations are once again trying to sell their polluting plants to municipal councils

[Editor’s note: Emerald Energy From Waste, a Brampton based company recently submitted a proposal to the Ontario Government requesting permission to increase its incineration capacity up to 5 times from current levels. Peel Region Council cancelled its contract with Emerald in 2017 meaning the waste burned in the Emerald plant is imported from other municipalities. If allowed to proceed this expanded plant would be the largest mass burn facility in Canada with a capacity to consume 1/3 of all of Ontario’s garbage.]

After years of bad press about failed incineration/waste-to-energy projects, plants polluting their communities, municipal bankruptcies due to “put or pay” contracts, fires at various sites, stiff opposition to new plants from citizens and an end to some lucrative government subsidies, incinerator proponents largely disappeared from the Canadian landscape. Now, however, they are back.

Today they are being sold as a solution to landfills and to the problem of plastics and climate change. Not only do incinerators not solve these issues, they add a host of other problems including. increased greenhouse gas emissions, the production of highly toxic pollutants, added waste management costs, and missed opportunities to implement zero waste solutions that would better serve our communities and our environment.

You are invited to a webinar on Wednesday, April 3rd from 12 to 1 p.m. to learn from our panel (see the list of experts below) on the threat incineration is posing in Canada. Participants will better understand the true emissions impacts of waste-to-energy, learn from cautionary case studies from across Canada, and see how these technologies are also failing in Europe. A question-and-answer session will follow the speaker’s presentations. Register for the webinar here!

This event is hosted by a coalition of environmental groups from across the country who are fighting incinerators and supporting the policies and practices embedded in the Zero Waste hierarchy.

There are better, safer, more environment and human health friendly ways to reduce and manage municipal waste. Many communities across Canada, and around the world, have taken a multi-faceted approach to waste management that reduces waste, adds years of life to existing landfills while supporting community health, good jobs and economic growth.

Learn more and have your questions answered by the following panelists:

  • Belinda Li: Belinda is an environmental engineer with over 10 years of experience in solid waste consulting, with a focus on waste reduction and diversion. As a waste data specialist, she has developed robust data collection, management, analysis, modeling, and reporting tools for clients across North America. She will discuss how incineration stacks up in terms of emissions compared landfill and programs that focus on reduction, reuse, recycling and composting.
  • Liz Benneian: Liz is a former newspaper editor with a degree in science who has been leading environmental advocacy and educational groups for 20 years. As the founder of the Ontario Zero Waste Coalition, she represented citizens as part of the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate change’s two-year long stakeholder meetings on the Waste-Free Ontario Act. She will share the high cost of incinerator failures in Ontario.
  • Sue Maxwell: Sue is the chair of Zero Waste BC and a consultant for Ecoinspire which for over fifteen years has focused on sustainability and zero waste planning, working with governments, extended producer responsibility programs and businesses. She has been a councilor in Whistler and an active volunteer for waste reduction and community planning. She has a Master of Arts in Environment and Management, and her thesis was on zero waste. Sue will present a case study of the Metro Vancouver incinerator.
  • Janek Vähk: Janek is the Zero Pollution Policy Manager for Zero Waste Europe. He has years of experience combating incineration and advocating for zero waste solutions in a European context. Janek will speak about the European experience with incinerators.
  • Aditi Varshneya, webinar host: Adi is the US/Canada Network Development Manager for the US and Canada region of GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives). She is a community organizer with a B.A. in Metropolitan Studies and a Master of Public Administration from New York University where she focused on urban sustainability, community resilience to climate disaster, and frontline-led solutions.
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