LEVY: Is state-of-the art incineration technology in the cards for Toronto?
Solid Waste General Manager Matt Keliher told the budget committee Friday that the city’s landfill site will be full between 2034 and 2037 and they need to start planning for what’s next now.
Noting it takes 10 to 15 years to site a new landfill and there’s a lack of landfill space in Ontario, he said they need to be looking at other long-term disposal options like energy from waste technology.
Keliher avoided the word that makes leftists shudder — incineration — but after the meeting I asked him if he meant incineration technology.
“Things have changed … our job is to bring the information forward,” he said. “It is not in our best interest to rule anything out.”
The city landfill he was referring to is Greenlane — near St. Thomas — bought in a highly secretive 2006 deal for about $220 million. Ironically, the mayor at the time, David Miller, fancied himself a champion of the environment.
“It’s essential for this country’s largest city to own its landfill to give it options and stability to deal with its waste management challenges,” Miller told reporters after a very contentious vote at the time.
The even bigger irony, as I discovered the following spring during a trip to an Italian waste-to-energy plant east of Milan, was that Italy had been in the incineration business for five years. The plant was pristine and there was not a speck of smoke emanating from the plant’s stacks.
Some 12 years ago — while Toronto’s so-called environmentalists were buying landfill sites and dissing energy-from -waste technology — the Italian plant treated about 60% of the total garbage created by the 700,000 residents of the surrounding region.
According to solid waste’s own figures — presented Friday — 552,917 tonnes of Toronto garbage will be sent to the Greenlane landfill by year’s end.
Back in 2006, Miller vowed that the landfill purchase would not slow the city’s ambitious goal to recycle and compost 60% of its waste by 2010 and 100% by 2012.
That was then. This is now and City Hall always has ambitious targets when it comes to socially engineering the way we live (not so much for getting construction projects done on time or on budget).