1,500 tonnes of Canadian garbage officially en route back from the Philippines

May 31 2019, 7:29 pm

After the president of the Philippines engaged in some serious trash-talk with Canada last month and threatened to “declare war” over a garbage shipment, the Trudeau government announced it would be bringing the garbage back to Canada.

Now it looks like the waste has officially begun making its way back, and is set to arrive on Canadian shores four weeks from now.

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The material being sent back mostly consists of paper and mixed plastics with “low levels of contaminants,” such as electronics and household waste, according to officials.

It was initially shipped from the Port of Vancouver to the Philippines by a private business for recycling in 2013 and 2014.

Late last week, it was announced that the Waste-to-Energy Facility in Burnaby will be responsible for “securely” disposing of the 1,500 tonnes of repatriated Canadian waste.

The facility has operated for over 25 years and produces enough electricity to power approximately 16,000 homes.

Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna tweeted the garbage had officially left the Philippines on Thursday, with the caption, “Anchors aweigh!”

McKenna spoke about the situation in an interview with Daily Hive earlier this week, during her visit to Vancouver.

“I got involved in the decision because there was a decision to bring the waste back to Canada, and we need to do it in a way that protects our environment and our health,” she said, noting that the whole situation began before the current government took power.

“It was 2015, it predates our government, it was a private company, and we have now made sure that this won’t happen again by passing legislation,” she said. “We’re looking at how to hold the company accountable, because the government can’t be accountable for these situations.”

In light of these events, McKenna said she also believes there’s also a bigger issue at play.

“I think the reality is that you’re seeing the developing countries no longer want to take our recyclables, they no longer want to take our waste and that is reasonable,” she said. “So we’re going to have to figure this out in Canada, and that’s why the government has said we need to have a zero-plastic pollution strategy so that we actually tackle this.”

Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in Vancouver. (Eric Zimmer / Daily Hive)

Upon its arrival in Canada, the material will be accepted as Special Handle Waste under Metro Vancouver’s Tipping Fee Bylaw, at the rate prescribed in the bylaw of $250 per tonne.

The estimated 1,500 tonnes of waste is equivalent to about two days worth of processing capacity for the Waste-to-Energy Facility

All costs associated with the shipping and disposal of the waste will be assumed by the Government of Canada.