The City of Guelph and the County of Wellington announced the launch of the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad’s (COIL) newest Civic Innovation Challenge to help a local business develop an innovative solution that facilitates the on-site separation and recycling of construction, renovation and demolition materials.

The initiative is one of a number of programs being delivered as part of COIL’s Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab to deliver circular economy strategies that reduce or redirect waste.

“We know there are lots of places around the world where they’ve made source separation and recycling the norm for construction waste, and we’re looking for innovative companies that want to lead that change in Guelph-Wellington and across southern Ontario,” said David Messer, manager, COIL. “Since we’ve started mapping the local construction system, we know that source separation at the job site is an important to the diversion of valuable materials from landfill and will support the development of new circular economy businesses.”

Construction, renovation and demolition (CRD) materials, such as concrete, drywall, cabinetry and lumber, make up approximately one third of the waste Canadians send to landfills every year. If properly separated, most of these materials can be reused or recycled. Guelph’s Waste Resource Innovation Centre promotes recycling of CRD materials through recycling programs for concrete/brick/rubble/porcelain, asphalt shingles, clean wood and gypsum drywall – most offered with a lower tipping fee than if disposed at Guelph’s transfer station to be landfilled. However, construction waste is currently placed in a single dumpster, meaning virtually none of these materials are reclaimed or recycled.

See also  City of Victoria moves to reduce construction waste

“When we were updating the City’s Solid Waste Management Master Plan with circular economy recommendations, we had envisioned innovations that would support a future-ready Guelph by taking ambitious steps to care for the local environment,” said Heather Connell, Guelph’s environmental services manager, Business and Technical Services. “By focusing on reducing CRD materials within the landfill, we’re deepening our connection to the environment, extending the life of the landfill and tackling what is both a local and global challenge through innovation and action.”

Through Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab’s Civic Innovation Challenge, COIL is looking for a local business or innovator interested in developing a new business model to support onsite source separation, alternative waste hauling methods or another innovative idea to divert CRD materials for small industrial, commercial or institutional (ICI) and residential construction, renovation and demolition projects. A winner will be selected and awarded $15,000 to pilot their new system in collaboration with the Smart Cities Office and the City’s Solid Waste Resources department.

The challenge is being supported by Co-operators as part of its funding to support a circular economy. “For the last nine years, our claims team at Co-operators has been actively working to divert materials from property claims away from landfills and back into the economy to make our communities more sustainable and resilient,” said Tom Ewart, Co-operators’ associate vice president, Sustainability. “We’re delighted to take our efforts to the next level with COIL and are excited to see this Civic Innovation Challenge launched.”

Featured image: (Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad)


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