Sun Editorial Says WTE Deserves Consideration

Edmonton waste management centre

Edmonton’s Waste Management Centre turns solid waste residuals into bio-fuels. Source: City of Edmonton

An October 3rd editorial by the Vancouver Sun crunches the numbers on waste generation in our region. The conclusion?  Waste-to-energy is a proven option that residents of Metro Vancouver should consider:

“In Vancouver, for example, just over 600,000 inhabitants generated 557,334 tonnes of waste last year. Sort that into commercial, demolition and residential waste and it turns out that the average citizen produces about half a tonne of garbage a year.”



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Waste-to-Energy Emissions Getting Even Lower

wteEmissions from Metro Vancouver’s waste-to-energy facility are getting lower and lower thanks to an upgraded nitrogen oxide control system.

Smog forms when nitrogen oxides react with other air pollutants in the presence of sunlight. The biggest sources of nitrogen oxides in our region are cars, trucks, ships and non-road vehicles like bulldozers.

“Our priority is to manage the waste in our growing region in the cleanest and safest way possible,” said Malcolm Brodie, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee. “Waste-to-energy technology also allows us to extract value from waste, as a bonus.”

“This project is part of ongoing efforts to minimize emissions from our facility,” he said.

Nitrogen oxide emissions from the facility were already low and below regulatory limits, accounting for less than one percent of total regional emissions. The upgrades have further reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 25 percent, and when the new system is complete, emissions will be less than half of the previous level.

The waste-to-energy facility’s emissions for pollutants such as dioxins, furans, heavy metals, fine particles and others are even lower – hundredths or thousandths of one percent of regional totals, and also well below regulatory limits.

The new emission reduction system involves modifications to the facility’s combustion air system to reduce the formation of nitrogen oxides plus improvements to the ammonia injection system to convert nitrogen oxides to harmless substances like water vapour and nitrogen gas. The cost of the upgrade is approximately $7 million and it is expected to be complete in December, 2014.

The waste-to-energy facility handles about a quarter of the region’s garbage, about 280,000 tonnes per year, and generates enough electricity to power 16,000 homes.

Metro Vancouver’s recycling rate is currently 58% and the region aims to achieve 80% recycling by 2020 as well as sufficient waste-to-energy capacity to take care of the waste that cannot be recycled or composted.

Metro Vancouver manages an extensive air quality monitoring network that spans the region from Lions Bay to Hope. Regional air quality has generally improved since the early 1970s when Metro Vancouver became responsible for management and monitoring.

Global TV Report on Garbage Disposal in Metro Vancouver



Some garbage disposal companies are bypassing the Metro Vancouver solid waste disposal system because they don’t want to pay their share of the cost of managing waste and waste diversion in the region.   Global TV tracked the shipment of this waste and explored the impact this is having on our region’s waste management system.

Metro Vancouver’s Waste-to-Energy Facility: no detectable effects on local or regional air quality.


The 2013 environmental monitoring and reporting data for Metro Vancouver’s Waste-to-Energy Facility located in Burnaby shows the plant had no detectable effects on local or regional air quality. All emissions were below regulatory limits, with most far below, and some not even detectable.

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Less Food Waste Means Less Garbage From Single-Family Homes

Taking food waste out of the garbage has made a huge difference in the amount of Metro Vancouver garbage going to landfill.

By putting food waste and leftovers  into their green carts instead of garbage bins Metro Vancouver residents of single-family homes have reduced their garbage by almost 30 per cent in the last three years. Continue reading

Scientific Review finds No Health Risks to Waste-to-Energy Projects.

Literature Review of Potential Health Risk Issues Associated with New Waste-to-Energy Facilities

A comprehensive examination of peer-reviewed scientific studies and government and industry reports show there are no unacceptable health risks to residents living in the vicinity of a modern waste-to-energy facility equipped with the best-available pollution control technologies.

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