A dispute between the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and the Nova Scotia government over the disposal of film plastics has come to an end – at least for the moment.
Global News reported on the dispute between Halifax and Nova Scotia earlier this week, which focused on a request from the HRM and Green for Life, to dump roughly 75 tonnes of film plastic – the lowest quality of plastic found in things like shopping bags or plastic wrap — in a West Hants, N.S., landfill owned by Green for Life.
Although the 75 tonnes has already been moved, the decision secures an outlet for any future disposal if needed. The municipality has said they’re only using a landfill as a last resort for material that can no longer be recycled.
Environment Minister Iain Rankin announced on Friday that his department has granted a temporary exemption to the province’s ban on allowing film plastic to go to a landfill.
“Staff did their due diligence and visited the site where they’re storing the material,” said Rankin in an interview on Friday.
“We honoured the request but it’s a short-term, six-month variance.”
Rankin stressed that this is only a temporary solution and will allow municipalities to find a new market for their film plastic.
Until Friday, the only solution for the HRM was to ship the plastic to another province due to the Nova Scotia government not signing the exemption.
The 75 tonnes were only a portion of the 300 tonnes that have been stored for months, but are now so degraded the materials are no longer recyclable.
WATCH: Halifax councillors to consider asking for province-wide approach to plastic bag use, possible ban
Matt Keliher, Halifax’s solid waste manager, was happy about the announcement.
“Any material that is not en route or in a truck right now, we’ll make sure it gets to a local landfill,” said Keliher in a phone interview.
“What the province did today was give us in Halifax an outlet of last resort.”
The cost of doing business
The recycling troubles stem from China’s new import ban on certain wastes, something which is affecting many other communities in North America.
In the last fiscal year, $1,660,000 of the $2,166,000 in Halifax’s recycling revenues came from selling materials to China.
Now, the government expects little, if any future money, to come from China.
A group of municipalities and Nova Scotia are set to discuss the issue of plastic recycling on Thursday.