A Cape Breton inventor is in Ontario this week, peddling what he says is a major breakthrough — a waste disposal system he calls "The Disintegrator."
John Kearns, of North Sydney, invented the system in the 1980s but has been unable to attract a buyer until now.
This week, Kearns is in the aboriginal community of Six Nations in Ontario, where he's doing a 30-day trial of The Disintegrator.
"It is a disintegrator — as in different to an incinerator," he told CBC News.
"The Disintegrator is designed and operates very successfully in breaking down all of the wastes — all of the wastes — excluding radioactive, to its basic elements."
Kearns said he has been peddling his invention around the world, ever since the former Cape Breton County decided against buying the demonstration model three decades ago.
He's demonstrating a smaller version of his high-temperature, no-emission unit to the Six Nations council, which has agreed to buy a full-scale model at $6 million if the test goes well.
Kearns has nothing but confidence in his invention and praise for the Six Nations community.
"The world is full of people prepared to be second. It has taken us quite a bit to find someone to be first," he said.
"It's been a very difficult battle all along."
But Wray Maracle, a councillor in Six Nations and the head of the local solid waste committee, said a week into the test — people in the community are apprehensive.
Maracle said people can both see and smell The Disintegrator, despite the promise of no emissions.
"It is running back there now this week but they also see a lot of emissions," he said.
"It's not just steam because there's obviously an odour to it too."
Maracle said the community has already paid Kearns nearly $600,000 to help the inventor finish the loaner unit that is currently in Six Nations. The councillor said Kearns has promised to pay that money back if the community decides not to go ahead and seal the deal.
Maracle said he wants an independent evaluator to test the unit and guarantee its safety and effectiveness before the community buys the $6-million version.