Two agriculture-related Eastern Ontario companies becoming used to the spotlight received major environmental awards at an Earth Day ceremony held in Toronto last month.
Perennial award winner Domtar Papers of Cornwall was one of four recipients of an Ontario Waste Minimization Award, Platinum Category, bestowed by the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO). The other platinum crown from this region went to Casco of Cardinal, also a repeat winner, with Honda Canada and IBM Canada also claiming major prizes.
The awards are designed to recognize outstanding achievements aimed at protecting the environment through reduction, reuse and recycling. Ontario Environment Minister Norm Sterling, incumbent Conservative candidate in Lanark-Carleton, was on hand to honor winners in 12 categories.
A four-time RCO winner, Domtar was picked again for its ongoing waste reduction efforts which last year resulted in 97 per cent less pulp mill waste going into landfill and being diverted instead into beneficial materials such as Domtar Soil Conditioner.
Not only is 120,000 tonnes of the flaky, grey conditioner spread on farms throughout the region every year, it's also distributed to home gardeners through Domtar Bag Day in support of Cornwall and District Horticultural Society. The fourth annual Bag Day was held May 8, with 60 volunteers on hand to fill and load 3000 bags of conditioner, soil mix and bark mulch.
In addition to farm and home fertilizer, Domtar's treated biosolids are being used in the rehabilitation of abandoned gravel pits and in the company's hybrid poplar plantations.
Domtar waste management guru George Velema said the enviable successes are due to the cooperation farmers and other landowners, of communities, and of company employees.
The largest corn refiner in Canada, 140-year-old Casco is now a three-time winner of one of RCO's highest honors. Through its persistent efforts, reliance on landfill for plant waste has virtually been eliminated.
The company's move towards waste minimization began in 1994 when Water and Earth Science Associates of Ottawa were retained to perform annual audits, results of which formed the basis of a sustainable reduction, reuse and recycle program. Former waste material is now being sold instead of dumped, primarily as feed supplements.
The continuing success of the program is rooted in the involvement of all employees who must ensure that targets are met. To celebrate the latest achievement, Casco sponsored a reuse pledge centre where community members could sign up to reuse rather than throw out and replace.