Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

Aspera Recycling and Rosedale Group launch Carpet Recycling Program in Ontario

April 9th, 2012

 When we renovated our house in 2002, we tore up many square yards of 1970s chocolate-brown carpet that had seen better days. In 2002, there was no other place for it but landfill. Carpet may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of the waste stream, but consider this: 6.5 billion pounds of used carpet are torn up every year and comprises 4% of all landfill — enough to cover Prince Edward Island, every year. Because synthetic carpet it is made of plastic, ALL of the synthetic carpet that has ever been made and discarded is still sitting in landfill — plastic takes between 500-1000 years to degrade.  Furthermore, because synthetic carpet is made out of plastic, it is a recyclable product can be reused as a feed stock for making new items out of plastic.

In fact, for every yard of carpet that is recycled, 0.5 gallons of oil is saved. So maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot, but imagine if we could divert all of the carpet annually from landfill, we’d avoid using billions of gallons of crude oil and avoid emitting its equivalent greenhouse gases every year.

Aspera Recycling has teamed up with  The Rosedale Group, a large Canadian logistics company, to recycle old carpet that would otherwise go straight to landfill. The program targets carpet retailers, architects and designers, carpet installers and even homeowners. Further, while there are other carpet recyclers out there, Aspera sorts every part of the carpet so that it can be converted into plastic pellets ready to be reused for new plastic products. While currently Aspera focuses solely on sorting and separating the different parts of the carpet, Scott Grantham, Territory Manager for Aspera, told me that in 6-9 months Aspera plans to have a fully integrated processing plant which will convert the sorted material into plastic pellets ready for reuse. In fact, recycling the carpet makes the process completely closed loop, reduces the need to little or no new crude oil in the manufacturing process.  Currently, a pilot project has been launched in Ontario with the program set to go nationwide in a few months.

There is a cost associated with participation in the program, depending on the area in which a company is working, or the volume of carpet a company works with, sometimes it can be either cost neutral or a less than tipping fees associated with carpet dumping.

For more information on the program, or to see how you can participate, visit Aspera Recycling’s website.

If you’re a homeowner and are about to purchase new carpet, ask your retailer if it participates in a recycling program.

A few of the participating companies are:

All Home Depot locations across Ontario.

A few Alexanian locations around the Greater Toronto Area

S&R Flooring Concepts, Richmond Hill, ON

Golia Flooring, Niagara Falls, ON

To find a retailer near you who participates in the program, contact Scott Grantham:

The ReCYCLEr — Furniture made from old bicycles

April 29th, 2011

It may sound a bit odd, but this is a business that grew out of a passion for tinkering with old worn out bicycles. The owner, Gilbert VandenHeuvel, was a pig farmer for over 30 years before deciding that a career change was in order. He and his wife sold their farm and started this business: The ReCycler in Goderich, ON. Gilbert has a creative eye — he can make almost any kind of furniture out of bicycle parts including end tables, coffee tables, chairs, desks, shelving and “funky art.”

Bicycles are sourced from a scrapyard out of town because Gilbert’s demand can no longer be met by the local Goderich scrapyard. Who would have thought that old bicycles had so much potential?

Gilbert not only uses the frames and wheels, old gears are turned into salt and pepper shakers, tires into belts and seat backings, handlebars into table legs, even chains are turned into bottle openers. Now that’s reuse!

If you want to add a bit of whimsy to your decor, check out his work. If you can’t make it to Goderich, the reCycler will be making visits to Toronto craft/artist fairs throughout 2011. Check here for their schedule.

The reCycler is located just outside Goderich, ON.

79617 Orchard Line – RR2 Goderich, ON N7A 3X8

Phone: 519-524-1557

Get Directions

Toronto’s Waste Initiatives: Are they Working?

May 7th, 2010

In the last few years Toronto has implemented several changes to its waste management system and I began to wonder what kind of effect they’ve had on waste diversion in the city. The goal, by the City’s waste management team, is 70% diversion from dumps by 2010. This goal has as much, if not more, to do with the cost of shipping the garbage to Michigan as it does with the environment — and by the end of this year we will no longer be able to ship garbage to Michigan. Below are three of the most recent programs that the city has implemented and how we consumers have responded. (Note: the deposit-return program implemented by the LCBO is a provincial program).

Implementation of the $0.05/shopping bag in Toronto. The city imposed a fee of 5 cents per bag as of June 1, 2009. I contacted Matthew Green in the waste department office of the city to find out if it had made any difference to plastic bag use.  He responded,

While the City does not obtain or retain retail sales figures on the number of plastic retail shopping bags distributed from stores in Toronto, we have seen public statements from major retailers describing the reduction in plastic bags.

Matthew sent me figures that some of the major grocery chains have sent him.

In a nutshell,

  • Loblaws reported “distributing approximately 75 per cent fewer plastic shopping bags per $1000 in sales.” Source:
  • Metro (Metro Ontario Inc.), in June 29, 2009 press release, stated: “”Four weeks after introducing a $0.05 charge for single-use grocery bags, Metro grocery stores across Quebec and Ontario are reporting that 70 per cent fewer bags have been distributed in store, when compared to the monthly average.” Source:

So, basically, a simple and almost insignifcant charge of 5 cents has had a huge impact on single use plastic bag distribution. 70% or greater reduction in single plastic bag distribution at the main grocery stores.

LCBO deposit return program: In the case of the LCBO deposit-return program I wondered if as many containers were making their way back to the Beer Store (return depot) as anticipated. Because glass was already being recycled via the blue box, this program is more about getting a higher quality recycling product.

According to The Beer Store’s Operational Report for 2008, the LCBO’s deposit-return system saw the first year’s return rate come in at 67% on average (the PET and asceptic packaging return rates were significantly lower than cans and glass rates). In 2008, the rate increased to 73% (76% and 79% for glass and can return rates, respectively). This glass is recycled and reused to make new glass bottles and fibreglass, and, according to the report, the new products are produced in Ontario. Note: The average annual return rate for beer bottles is somewhere around 98% (It was actually at 99% in 2008-2009). In the case of beer bottles, most are reused on average 15 times before they’ve outlived their useful life.


If you prefer to put your bottles in the blue box, they still get recycled, but because the glass is mixed it will go into lower-grade products (plus you lose your 10-20 cent per bottle deposit).

Green Bin Waste: The green bin program is now fully implemented across 510,000 single family dwellings in Toronto. Wet garbage account for about 30% of all waste. This garbage is now diverted to an organic waste processing facility where the waste is turned into energy (methane gas production) and compost. The city has a 90% participation rate, and the program diverts 100,000 tons of waste saving 2,750 truck trips to Michigan annually.


Note: Contrary to what you might think, compostable bags are NOT wanted for the green bin program in Toronto. It is best to use ordinary plastic bags. For more information see

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