March 2, 2019 – There is no easy or immediate answer to the plastics problem facing Nova Scotia municipalities. Banning bags would address part of the problem, but there is a lot more film plastic usage than just shopping bags. Film plastic is everywhere and in every manner of packaging across agricultural, industrial, and commercial business usage. It is even how we predominantly contain our waste resources at home, and in every public and commercial garbage bin or container. 

Waste to energy is part of the solution for dealing with non-marketable plastics and the Municipality of the County of Colchester is examining an innovative advanced thermal technology waste to energy project. This clean renewable energy solution is proven, practical, and significantly reduces the emissions, environmental footprint and climate impacts of end-of-life resource management as compared to active landfilling.

I just returned from seeing the technology at work at a facility in France. Advanced thermal conversion works. I saw it processing mixed resource streams from commercial mixed wastes, clean waste woods, biomass and waste plastics. The inclusion of waste plastics in fact boosted the energy efficiency of the system. To achieve the government’s environmental goals for waste resource management, the modernization of our integrated waste resource management systems needs to include innovative sustainable technology systems like advanced thermal conversion. Valuable resources should not end up in the ground to decompose over decades and negatively impacting our land, water and air for future generations.  Active landfills are what really need to be banned eventually, and advanced thermal conversion facilities are an environmentally sound and proven option for achieving that goal.

Gord Helm
Chief Technical Officer
Nova Waste Solutions Inc. and Fourth State Energy.