A retrofitted facility outside Toronto will begin by targeting single-stream recyclables from multi-family residences but could evolve into a full-scale mixed waste operation in the future.
Canada Fibers last week announced its plans for the Vaughan, Ontario-facility, which the company says is expected to process more than 100,000 tons annually from multi-family buildings in and around Toronto. Canada Fibers bought the 100,000-square-foot site in late 2015 and is in the process of retrofitting it.
The company runs seven other materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and handles a large amount of material from Ontario’s Blue Box curbside recycling program.
“What we’re targeting is very challenged single-stream material,” Canada Fibers’ Mark Badger said. “There’s a lot of recoverable value in it and in many instances it goes to landfill now, but there’s a better way of doing things.”
According to Badger, the company is in the process of outfitting the site with equipment and has already begun processing on a small scale. Beyond recovering fiber, plastic and metal material, Canada Fibers expects to be able to recover organics at the site.
Badger also said the facility could transition into a mixed-waste processing operation capable of sorting recyclables from trash. “Whether or not the facility evolves to the point where it’s able to handle single-bin type material will depend upon the needs of our customers and our ability to morph the technology,” Badger said.
“It’s not the current plan, but when you go into these things, you always have a plan A or a phase 1 and then you have those other possibilities that dance in your head until you can crystalize them,” he added.
While mixed-waste processing systems have been around for many years, several new projects have recently launched or been proposed in North America with the goal of handling municipal solid waste. Some in the industry have argued that the approach will degrade the value of recoverable commodities, especially paper. Others contend the method could enable communities to significantly raise diversion rates.
Badger said Canada Fibers has studied mixed-waste processing systems outside of North America in preparing for the retrofit of the Vaughan location. “We looked throughout Europe to learn what had worked there and what hadn’t worked there,” Badger said.