In open letters sent to the 20 largest municipalities in Ontario, the construction industry is urging City and Regional Councils to take more of a leadership role in encouraging the recycling of concrete and asphalt.
These materials, recovered from construction sites, can be reused in road projects and other public works. But many municipalities in Ontario have policies that prohibit or severely limit this practice. The result? Every year, millions of tonnes of aggregate are needlessly dumped in landfill or stockpiled in mountains of urban rubble.
To help local governments increase aggregate recycling, a proposed Municipal Aggregates and Asphalt Recycling Policy has been prepared (see below for details). By implementing this policy, City and Regional Councils can achieve significant new gains in diverting used aggregate from the waste stream, lowering fuel consumption and greenhouse gases, and building more sustainable infrastructure.
Last year, the same industry associations commissioned an independent study that identified the municipal "Leaders" and "Laggards" in recycling used aggregate. Another survey will be conducted this fall, and it will identify the municipalities that have made positive gains (or not) since the initial report.
The industry associations supporting this initiative are the Toronto and Area Road Builders Association (TARBA), Heavy Construction Association of Toronto (HCAT), Greater Toronto Sewer and Watermain Contractors Association (GTSWCA), Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association (OSWCA), and Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO).
Ontario's proposed Municipal Aggregates and Asphalt Recycling Policy:
WHEREAS (Name of Municipality) is committed to environmental sustainability and best practices associated with the reuse and recycling of construction materials associated with its civil infrastructure construction and maintenance programs, and;
WHEREAS (Name of Municipality) wishes to be a leader in environmental stewardship with respect to construction and maintenance of its roads and all other civil infrastructure works;
THEREFORE: (Name of Municipality) is hereby committed to the use of recycled construction aggregates and hot mix asphalt to maximum levels consistent with sound engineering and construction standards as determined by the Ontario Provincial Standards and Specifications (OPSS).
AND SPECIFICALLY THAT (Name of Council) hereby directs all departments or divisions responsible for civil infrastructure works to implement policies of specifying and requiring the reuse of recycled concrete and asphalt pavement as construction aggregates and new hot mix asphalt in all of their civil infrastructure construction and maintenance contracts to the greatest possible extent as permitted by OPSS 1010 - Material Specification for Aggregates Base, Subbase, Select Grade and Backfill Material and OPSS 1150 - Material Specification for Hot Mix Asphalt.