A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 April 10, 1991


“The people of Ontario need solutions,
not illusions.”

Ruth Grier, Minister of the Environment, Ontario, Canada, April 11, 1991.

Ontario is Canada’s largest province with a population of 9.7 million (Canada’s total population is 26.4 million - 1990 statistics). Ruth Grier was appointed Minister of the Environment when the New Democratic Party (NDP) was dramatically swept into power in the September 6, 1990 elections, taking office on October lst. This is the first time the NDP has been in power in Ontario, replacing the Conservatives which had been in power for 44 years, and the Liberal party for 6 years. Known as Canada’s left-wing party, the NDP campaigned on a very strong environmental agenda, with opposition to incineration a long-standing policy of the party.

Known as the business center for Canada, Ontario has 3.7 million households. Currently more than 2 million single family unites are served, twice a week, by the curbside blue box. Ontario’s Environment Minister, Ruth Grier, had previously announced a 50% reduction goal for municipal solid waste by 1996, with plans underway to expand the blue box recycling programs to commercial, industrial, institution, and apartment generators. Composting of food wastes, which will include wet/dry curbside collection, will be accelerated. The City of Guelph in Ontario has a composting program underway for food wastes. The latest statistics from the Ontario beverage industry are that returns for deposit beer bottles was 98%, and 72% for beer cans.

The full text of Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Ruth Grier, press release issued on April 11, 1991: “Environment Minister Ruth Grier today confirmed the government’s decision to ban all future municipal solid waste incinerators in Ontario. ‘Incineration is inconsistent with reduction, reuse and recycling because it relies on a steady, large quantity of mixed waste,’ Mrs. Grier said. ‘It is a superficial solution which does not attack the root of the problem -- we must waste less.’ The combustion of municipal solid waste during incineration releases a wide range of air pollutants, including dioxins, furans, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium. Dioxins and furans pose a significant threat to human health. They have been linked to a number of health problems in test animals, including the weakening of the reproductive and immune systems, skin irritation, liver damage and cancer. Mercury -- which is released by the burning of batteries, paints and fluorescent light bulbs -- is well-known for its adverse affects on the central nervous system. Nitrogen oxides contribute to the formation of ground level ozone and urban smog. Carbon dioxide is a major cause of global warming. It is estimated that 70 per cent by weight of incinerated substances are released to the atmosphere as exhaust and suspended particles. Between one-quarter and one third by weight of the original material entering incinerators remains as bottom ash and fly ash. The disposal of this ash, particularly hazardous fly ash, is a major concern. ‘Incineration is an environmental sleight of hand which gives the illusion of making waste disappear when, in fact, it reappears in different and often more hazardous forms,’ Mrs. Grier said. ‘The people of Ontario need solutions, not illusions.’ Ontario becomes the first provincial-level jurisdiction in North America to ban future municipal solid waste incinerators. Mrs. Grier also announced that the Ministry of the Environment will review the Certificates of Approval and monitoring requirements for six solid waste incinerators currently in operation in Ontario or already approved for future operation. The five solid waste incinerators in operation are: Solid Waste Reduction Unit (SWARU), Hamilton; Victoria Hospital Energy-from-Waste (EFW) incinerator, London; General Motors in-house incinerator, Oshawa; Ford Motor Company’s in-house EFW incinerator in Oakville; and 3M Canada’s facility at London. Peel Resource Recovery Inc. has received approval from the Environmental Assessment Board to service Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.” End of Press Release.

Background on Ontario’s operating/proposed incinerators

Incinerator/Location TPD Ash Disposal Start-UP Pollution Controls

SWARU 610 Fly ash to haz. waste 1972 Recently updated with Hamilton landfill in Sarnia, lime injection and baghouse bottom ash to local landfill.

Victoria Hospital 300 same as above 1987 Lime injection and London. Burns municipal solid baghouse waste only. Does not burn medical waste. **

3M 70 Fly ash to haz. waste N.A. Not Available

London. landfill in Sarnia General Motors 70 Fly and bottom ash to haz. 1987 Not Available

Oshawa. waste landfill in Sarnia

Ford Motor Co. 70 Incinerator not operating 1985 Not Available

Oakville. due to high maintenance costs.

Peel Resource 500 Proposed: Fly ash to On-line

Recovery haz. waste landfill in 1992

Brampton. Sarnia, bottom ash to local landfill.


Ash from municipal waste incinerators in Canada is classified as a hazardous waste.

** The municipal solid waste incinerator operating at Victoria Hospital (!) in London, Ontario, is due to be closed down the end of April 1991 due to financial losses amounting to $13 million since 1987. Victoria Hospital cannot find a buyer for the incinerator.

The ton per day listed is the American ton-per-day, not the metric ton. Laidlaw runs the only commercial hazardous waste incinerator in Ontario at Sarnia and operates the hazardous waste landfill in Sarnia. Laidlaw bought out Tricel, the former operator of the Sarnia hazardous waste operations. Sarnia is located near Port Huran, Michigan. The Peel Resource Recovery incinerator received its permit to build from the Conservative government’s Ontario Environmental Assessment board. Ford, GM and 3M operate incinerators at their facilities for in-house generated waste only.

Some Examples of Percentages of Municipal Solid Waste Incinerated:

Ontario, Canada: 4%
United States: 15%
West Germany: 30%
Japan: 50%
Sweden: 70%

WASTE NOT # 146 A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian $US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.