Toronto garbage no longer shipped to Michigan

The last truck filled with Toronto's garbage arrived in Michigan on Thursday. Starting Jan. 1, the city's garbage will be disposed of in Canada.
Garbage from Toronto is dumped at a landfill site in Michigan in 2003, due to an international arrangement that ends Dec. 31, 2010. ((AP/Paul Sancya))

Toronto's garbage is no longer an international irritant.

The last truck filled with garbage from Canada's largest city arrived in neighbouring Michigan on Thursday, ending a 12-year agreement to haul detritus from the Greater Toronto Area across the Canada-U.S. border.

The transportation of Toronto's garbage to the landfill site in Michigan drew the ire of U.S. environmentalists, with anti-dumping groups emerging in the state to demand that foreign trash be banned.

The agreement to ship the garbage began in 1998 after a plan to ship Toronto's trash to an unused mine in northern Ontario was scrapped.

It wasn't until 2003 that Toronto started shipping 100 per cent of its garbage across the border. At the height of the deal, 142 trucks a day were making the trip, hauling an estimated 10,000 tons of garbage daily.

Starting Jan. 1, 2011, Toronto's garbage will be disposed of at the city-owned Green Lane landfill, near London, Ont.

The Green Lane site has been described by the city as a "modern, state-of-the-art facility with on-site treatment of leachate and a methane gas collection and flaring system."

"By 2013, the landfill gas generated and captured at Green Lane Landfill will be sufficient to produce approximately 10 megawatts of electricity, which is to be used to help offset the need for electricity from non-renewable sources," said a news release from the city. 

City Coun. Denzil-Minnan Wong, chair of Toronto's public works and infrastructure committee, said in a statement  "it makes good business and environmental sense for a city the size of Toronto to have its own disposal facility." 

The Green Lane landfill is expected to continue to accept Toronto's garbage for the next 17 to 25 years, depending on the success of the city's recycling programs.