Province says HRM can dump plastics in Nova Scotian landfill

Temporary reprieve of recycling rules lets HRM offload its mountain of trash bags in West Hants, instead of shipping them across Canada.

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Plastic bags like these will soon be shipped from Halifax to a landfill in West Hants because it's better for the environment (than trucking them across Canada). - VIA ISTOCK
  • VIA iSTOCK
  • Plastic bags like these will soon be shipped from Halifax to a landfill in West Hants because it's better for the environment (than trucking them across Canada).

The province is letting Halifax ship its garbage mountain of trash bags to another Nova Scotia dump.

The department of environment announced the temporary exemption in provincial recycling law on Friday.

The change lasts for six months and only applies to the Halifax Regional Municipality’s dumping of plastic shopping bags and the plastic wrap around commercial products such as toilet paper and water bottles.

“This is only a temporary measure,” minister Iain Rankin said in an accompanying press release. “Nova Scotia is a leader in recycling and waste diversion, and we will continue to be.”

Several hundred tonnes of Halifax’s plastic bags have been rotting (or whatever plastics do) at a storage facility since last August, as a result of China’s decision to no longer import recyclables due to environmental and health concerns.

The municipality, and West Hants landfill operator Green for Life, had requested a temporary reprieve from the province to skirt laws banning recyclable materials in Nova Scotian landfills.

When that took too long, the municipality started sending its 300 tonnes of recyclable plastics to an out-of-province dump. As reported elsewhere, three tractor-trailer loads of plastics have already been shipped.

The municipality refused to disclose where the materials were going, other than it was potentially “even further west than Ontario.”

According to CBC, the municipality has found a recycling source for newly trashed film plastics, but the materials in storage were too degraded for that option.

Halifax’s manager of solid waste, Matt Keliher, writes in today’s release that putting the film plastics in a landfill is a last resort: “We have been actively looking for new markets and will continue to do that in the months to come.”

Prior to China’s announcement last year, 80 percent of the city’s recyclables were sent to Asia.

According to Friday’s press release, “other applications for a variance will be considered promptly.”

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