This summer, CGLR joined with Pollution Probe and the US Business Council for Sustainable Development to launch the Ontario Materials Marketplace. Made possible with funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Ontario Materials Marketplace connects businesses and institutions to develop and scale new reuse and recycling market opportunities.
During Wednesday’s event, Mark Fisher, President and CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region, spoke with Melissa DeYoung, Director at Pollution Probe and Daniel Kietzer, Director of Operations at the US Business Council for Sustainable Development (USBCSD)about the origins of the initiative. The Ontario marketplace adds to the reach of the existing USBCSD-created materials marketplaces already existing within the United States, which include those in Texas, Tennessee, Ohio, and Michigan. Also participating in Wednesday’s discussion was Rae Howard, Mission Leader for Strategic Partnerships and Sustainable Programs at General Motors, an early participant in the Michigan marketplace.
Today, roughly 7.5 million tonnes of material from the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) sector in Ontario is generated each year, of which about 6.6 million tonnes is incinerated or landfilled in the province, Michigan or New York. This means only 12% is diverted and recycled.
The Ontario Materials Marketplace pilot has been designed to connect the province’s IC&I and recycling sectors to help find new solutions to improve the recovery of valuable plastics and other materials, and to create reuse opportunities in the economy for those materials. This will help participants in the IC&I sector reach their recycling and broader sustainability goals.
Recycling companies can use the Ontario Materials Marketplace pilot to identify new customers and buyers for collected/processed material, to explore novel end-markets and to test the appetite for specific service offerings for materials before making large infrastructure investments.
Over 2,000 businesses and organizations — large and small — are using other Materials Marketplaces across the United States. Once launched, the Ontario pilot will connect to these marketplaces, with a focus on Michigan and Ohio, creating the foundation for a Great Lakes circular economy and a future without plastic and other waste, a priority for CGLR.
“The loss of valuable materials from the IC&I sector to Ontario landfills is significant despite waste diversion efforts. The Ontario Materials Marketplace pilot is an easy-to-use solution that will help the sector close the loop at a time when the province’s landfill capacity is becoming increasingly limited,” said Mark Fisher, President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region.
US BCSD, which oversees the marketplace, is enthusiastic about about the opportunity to convert would-be waste into future utility. Andrew Mangan, the co-founder and Executive Director of USBCSD, is hopeful that the marketplace will expedite the expansion of the Great Lakes circular economy. “The Ontario Materials Marketplace will help usher in a new wave of growth and scale for reuse and recycling market development in the region,” said Mangan. ” The marketplace can help connect the dots across the Great Lakes to accelerate the market’s transformation.”
Christopher Hilkene, the CEO of Pollution Probe sees the marketplace as an important step towards reducing commercial waste. “Ontario’s Blue Box program has received a lot of attention and significant efforts are being made to improve it. Yet, the IC&I sector is responsible for the majority of waste generated in Ontario and has significantly lower diversion rates than residential programs,” said . Hilkene. “The Ontario Materials Marketplace is a positive step forward in closing that gap and moving us closer to a zero waste, circular economy,” Hilkene said.
About the Council of the Great Lakes Region
The Council of the Great Lakes Region is a binational nonprofit organization that is dedicated to deepening the United States-Canada relationship in the Great Lakes Region. Its focus is on creating a stronger and more dynamic culture of collaboration in harnessing the region’s economic strengths and assets, improving the well-being and prosperity of the Region’s citizens, and protecting the Great Lakes for future generations. It achieves this mandate by conducting evidenced based policy research, connecting diverse perspectives at events like the Great Lakes Economic Forum, and acting as a strong voice for the Region’s varied economic, social and environmental interests.