New initiative encourages innovation around recycling of construction, renovation and demolition waste

Bids to develop waste diversion solution are being accepted until October 5

Guelph, Ont., August 31, 2022 – Earlier this week, the City of Guelph and County of Wellington launched 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. It’s the latest initiative in 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.

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.

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.

“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,” says 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.”

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,” says 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.”

“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,” says 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.”

COIL welcomes a range of potential proposal ideas and approaches in support of the overall goal to reduce CRD materials being sent to landfill.

Please see bid #22-118 on Guelph’s bids opportunity website for more information including the tender package and bid information. All bids are due by 2:30 p.m. on October 5, 2022.

About COIL

Launched in April 2021 COIL is a smart cities initiative of the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions across the food and environment sectors in southern Ontario that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy. COIL builds on the success of Our Food Future initiative, which in 2019 won the Government of Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge with a vision to create a regional circular food economy across Guelph and Wellington County.

COIL’s Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab was launched in January 2022 with the goal of expanding Guelph-Wellington’s circular economy work to new sectors beyond food. Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab applies circular economy theories to develop and test new opportunities to reduce, redirect or generate new innovations from materials currently viewed as waste. As the lab’s founding corporate supporter, Co-operators has pledged a $350,000 investment to establish the lab and fund its first project to divert construction, renovation and demolition materials from landfill.

Media contact

David Messer, Manager COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]