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First container of trash from Philippines undergoing test run at waste-to-energy plant

Jul. 3, 2019

Environment Canada has confirmed the first of 69 shipping containers full of festering trash, returned to Canada after six years in the Philippines, is undergoing a test run at a waste-to-energy facility in Burnaby.

The contents of the first of the 45-foot containers have been transferred to the facility where it will be burned and turned into electricity for the area.

“Once the technical process for the management and disposal of the waste for the first container is complete, the same process will be repeated for the remainder of the waste,” Environment Canada spokesperson Gabrielle Lamontagne wrote in an email Tuesday.

It’s just the beginning of a multi-day effort to process the plastics mixed with paper and other household garbage, according to Chris Allan, director of solid waste operations for Metro Vancouver. The estimated 1,500 tonnes of trash would take about two full operational days to process.

“We’re not going to be processing it all in one go, because we have to maintain our service levels to our existing traffic,” Allan said. “We don’t know exactly how many containers per shift we can do, but it won’t interrupt our operations.”

Allan confirmed the contamination in the containers was minimal.

“Environment Canada and CFIA have inspected the material when it was over in the Philippines and they’ve got waste audits of it and we’ve seen the waste audits. It’s 95 per cent-plus paper and plastic, that’s the predominant material,” Allan said. “From a technical standpoint, that presents no problem with us handling it at the waste-to-energy facility.”

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