Habitat announces plans for new, innovative recycling project

Friday, February 9th was a monumental day for Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga. Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon and Katharine Bambrick, CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, joined members of the community at the Burlington ReStore to hear the results of a five-month study focusing on reducing the construction industry’s impact on landfills.

In 2017, Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga received a $42,000 grant from OTF to study the issue further. Over the five-month period, our research led us to work alongside 24 local home building companies. The event last Friday spoke to the success of the program and outlined next steps for how we can use our findings to make a positive impact on the environment.

“Our government is proud to support Habitat for Humanity’s environmental research project with a $42,000 grant through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, helping to make our communities more inclusive, livable and vibrant. We acknowledge its leadership in taking action and look forward to environmental benefits in the construction industry,” said Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon.

Our research project focused on the need for more source separation to increase landfill diversion rates and reduce the construction industry’s impact on the environment. Source separation is the process of sorting waste on construction sites in order to keep reusable materials from landfills. Commercial construction is regulated to ensure proper source separation, but the same standards are not applied to residential home building.

In our research it was revealed that only 28 percent of builders are taking direct action to effectively manage their construction waste. With a heavy increase in residential building in Halton and Peel, there is an urgent need for new strategies to recycle materials from build sites.

As a result of our research, we are committing to work with multiple community partners to roll out a pilot program to test new and innovative strategies to recycle and repurpose construction and demolition waste. The ReStore will have an integral role in the success of the pilot program, selling the salvaged building materials at greatly reduced prices. Six hundred metric tonnes of waste are kept out of landfills each year through the resale of merchandise in our Restores. By adding source separated materials to our inventory, this number will increase exponentially.

“I would like to acknowledge the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s support with this grant,” said John Gerrard, CEO of Habitat Halton-Mississauga. “We are not simply changing the way we think about affordable housing in Halton and Mississauga, but now we know more about how we can help reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry in our region.”

More details about Habitat’s pilot program will come in the following weeks. To learn more about how Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga makes a difference in our community follow this link.