China rule change causes an increase in garbage on P.E.I.
China announced in July 2017 that it would no longer accept most recyclables from abroad, and P.E.I's Island Waste Management's stockpile of plastic recyclables has grown to over 100 tones since then.
CEO of Island Waste Management, Gerry Moore, said that the new rule had made jurisdictions across North America battle to find alternative solutions.
"It's not only Prince Edward Island, but all jurisdictions across Canada and North America as a matter of fact where the marketing of that material has become a little bit of a challenge," said Moore.
Bundles of wastes—mainly plastic grocery bags—are being stored on up to three transport trailers on Island Waste's property after being compared. They're being kept in anticipation of new markets.
About $3,500 was also paid by the Island Waste for 60 tones to be burned at the Charlottetown's Energy From Waste plant.
"We burn plastic now that comes in through the non-recyclable plastic in our waste stream," said Moore. "Plastic for the most part is a solid petroleum product and is actually an excellent fuel source."
"We're fortunate here in P.E.I. to have the Energy From Waste facility so that we're able, particularly in this short term situation, to use some of the materials to fuel that facility."
While some jurisdictions in Canada are considering putting the plastics recyclables into the landfill as a viable solution, Moore said the Island Management would not tow that path—as he's optimistic that new markets would spring up in the next few months.
"On a temporary basis, we are utilizing at that facility to use it for heat for them. We see long-term that the market will rebound and we will find markets, long term, for the plastic film," he said.
Island Waste Management remarked that the massive stockpile of plastic bags wastes is an indication to reduce the amount of wastes being disposed. Officials say a certain way to achieve that, is to take along with your own reusable shopping bags while grocery shopping.