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The Ministry of the Environment has withdrawn its last charges against the Halton Recycling plant in Newmarket, which were to go to trial this week.

The plant was built to process organic waste from Toronto’s garbage into a useful byproduct, thus diverting organics from landfill. There are many good reasons to keep organics out of landfills, including the problems they cause with methane gas, odours and leachate, and the importance of adding organics back to agricultural soils.

However, diverting organics from landfill can cause odours, and there was substantial conflict over odours between the Town of Newmarket and the plant. Last year, the company was fined $155,000 for odour related problems, and it faced another set of charges for allegedly breaching its certificate of approval. Now the MOE has admitted that it had no reasonable prospect of conviction on the additional charges.

Newmarket, however, is happy: the plant has shut down permanently, and the land is being rezoned for other uses. According to the MOE, odours remain the most common cause of closure for organic waste diversion facilities.

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