The Lafarge cement plant in Bath, Ontario will be permitted to burn scrap tyres as well as garbage such as cellulose, plastics and bone meal, in a controversial US$10m tyre and waste-burning facility west of Kingston. Interestingly, Ontario’s environment ministry gave the project the go-ahead without requiring a lengthy and expensive environmental assessment. The project will have to comply with the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act.
The Loyalist Environmental Coalition, a local citizens’ group, is upset about the EA exemption, because it means that Lafarge won’t have to pay for certain studies on the socio-economic and environmental impacts. But Lafarge says it has spent US$500,000 collecting data and producing studies to explain its waste-to-energy project. The company hopes to replace about 30 per cent of its coke and coal-burning fuel with refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and knock as much as US$1m off its annual energy bill.
The company says the RDF and process will actually improve emissions from its facility. The plant will not stockpile tyres, but bring them in on an as-needed basis. Plastics and bone meal will be stored on site in silos. Lafarge would be the first cement plant in Ontario to burn RDF – an approach that is common in other jurisdictions. The Essroc cement plant in Picton, Ontario was granted permission to burn tyres and RDF in 1997 but has yet to do so.