Warwick Township could soon be known as a leader in waste recycling.
The township is working with the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership to position its industrial park as an incubator for new recycling projects.
Matthew Slotwinski of SLEP says the Ontario government wants to create a circular economy. Instead of producing items, using them and then throwing them into the landfill, the province wants to see all kinds of items repurposed to keep them out of the dump.
“This is an opportunity to build on existing community assets,” Slotwinski told councillors adding Warwick is home to Twin Creeks Landfill, one of Ontario’s largest landfills. He adds the 40-acre industrial park, right beside the landfill, has a large building which could be used for emerging business or research and development into new recycling technologies.
“The market value of waste in Canada is over one billion dollars,” says Slotwinski.
“Only 25 per cent of the 12 billion tonnes of waste is being redirected in Ontario.”
And Slotwinski says it could be a big job creator.
“There are seven jobs for every 1,000 tonnes of waste recycled as opposed to one for every 1,000 tonnes of waste which is landfilled.”
Slotwinski and Warwick Mayor Todd Case have already floated the idea with the province. “The minister was very encouraging,” says Case.
And Slotwinski says the economic development idea fits into the province’s plans to become waste free and reduce greenhouse gases.
“This could mean major economic development,” says Slotwinski. “We see waste as a resource, recovered and reused… recycled materials become the new raw materials… There is a clear opportunity across several industries which could be developed.”
The concept isn’t new Slotwinski says. Austin, Texas has a similar complex at a former landfill. It has an estimated $720 million impact on that economy.
Council agreed with the concept and has decided to apply for a grant to study the idea further.
That study could cost up to $20,000 but Slotwinski says there may be some money available from SLEP to help with the costs.
Township staff – which has been involved in the concept since the beginning – will be working with SLEP to prepare the grant application.