Durham/York Energy From Waste Project

Durham and York Regions have developed independent long-term Waste Management Strategy Plans to effectively address managing the residential wastes from their individual jurisdictions for the future.  Limited landfill capacity in Ontario – combined with the general public’s growing opposition to landfill – has increased the desire to develop innovative alternatives to waste disposal methods in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner.

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and the State of Michigan have signed an agreement that has eliminated the cross border haulage and disposal of residential waste from Ontario effective December 31, 2010.  Ontario municipalities formerly utilizing this option must now find alternatives.

Durham and York Regions partnered in 2005 to undertake an environmental study to investigate alternative methods to manage their future residential waste.  The study was entitled “Durham/York Residual Waste Study”.  The study addressed the social, economic and environmental concerns of residents through an Environmental Assessment process under the Environmental Assessment Act.

The goal of the study was to seek local solutions to responsibly manage residual municipal solid waste not captured by the Regions’ province-leading recycling and diversion programs.  Over the past five and a half years, Durham and York Regions have invested considerable time, money and resources to advance the project through technology selection, site selection, environmental assessment (EA) and impact studies, public consultation and a competitive procurement process.

Extensive public consultation was undertaken throughout the process to ensure that the values and priorities of the public and stakeholders were reflected in the preferred alternative.  Regional Council approvals were obtained at major milestones such as technology selection, site selection, vendor selection, and submission of the EA study documentation.  Based on the detailed evaluation of environmental, social and economic considerations, the study identified the mass burn incinerator as the most environmentally sustainable disposal option for residual municipal solid waste in the Regions.