Newsletter 142, April 22, 2019

Newsletter comments and suggestions are welcome at info@transitionbrockville.com

BBL Energy’s solution to the problem of non-recyclable plastic waste to be highlighted at April 28 Transition Brockville presentation

PlasticWaste.jpg The world has finally recognized that we have a serious problem with plastic waste. Ultimately, people will find ways to reduce or even eliminate single-use plastics, but in the meantime, what can be done with the mountains and oceans of plastic debris already accumulated?

A local company thinks it has an answer.

Transition Brockville has invited David Bohn, general manager of BBL Energy, in Johnstown, to explain the company’s plans to convert waste plastic and used tires into light diesel fuel, natural gas and carbon char, at its next presentation, on Sunday, April 28, at 2 p.m. in the Brockville Public Library.

BBL Energy purchased the Prescott Machine and Welding property and is converting it to a plant which will take in regional plastic waste and annually turn 3,800 tonnes of plastic into energy. The plant machinery uses a pyrolysis process that heats plastic in an oxygen-free insulated retort at about 450 C, converting it to a liquid, then a gas, and then back to a liquid fuel.

No water is used in the process, and the plant will generate its own power to operate the equipment. Plant operation will be quiet. Emissions are expected to need only a vent similar to that used by modern high-efficiency (condensing flue) furnaces.

In addition to processing regional waste plastic, BBL Energy’s Johnstown plant will be a showroom for the machines the company hopes to sell to municipalities and private waste firms in North America. Many of these plants are already in operation in India and Africa.

Bohn will show a video on the process and the installation, as well as a PowerPoint presentation on their business and proposed process. He is happy to answer questions about the plant and the process.

Everyone is welcome at this free public presentation, which will start with a five-minute documentary on the origin and history of our planet-wide addiction to plastic. Refreshments are served; a free will donation is appreciated.


Plant Sale, May 18, opens 8:30 am, Brockville Senior Citizens Inc., 15 Elm Ave., near Ormond, in conjunction with the annual plant sale of the Brockville and District Horticultural Society. We’ll sell veggie seedlings, some perennials, and the popular Fritz Mix rose fertilizer.

Green Drinks, May 26, 1:30 pm, Kings Lock Distillery, 5 Newport Dr., Johnstown, off Hwy 2, east of Prescott. Enjoy a social time with $5 cocktails and local cheese, taste testing of Kings Lock spirits, and a tour of this green distillery, including a talk by owner Rob Heuvel and associated green dairy farmer Josh Biemond of Upper Canada Creamery and NewCare Farm, Iroquois. If you plan to attend, write to info@transitionbrockville.com by May 24, 2019.

(Pending Confirmation) Living a “Zero Waste” Lifestyle, June 23, 2 p.m., Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell St. Michelle Dunford, who gave a lively talk at the North Grenville Sustainability Fair in Kemptville on April 14, will explain how using the 5 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot) has enabled her family to achieve a ‘Zero Waste’ lifestyle.

A Look at All-Electric, Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Cars, July 28, 2 pm, Brockville Public Library, 23 Buell St. Frank Ahern, owner of a Hyundai Ionic plug-in hybrid, will discuss the merits of each car type, followed by a look at actual cars in the parking lot across from the library. The cars’ owners will be on hand to answer questions.

Culture Day in Brockville, Sat., Sept. 28, 10 am – 3 pm, King St. West. Transition Brockville will have a booth and will be signing people up for its next workshop (beeswax wraps and homemade laundry soap).


Andrew Melchers’s talk on carbon emissions of cement, steel and wood used in construction was well received by a large group of 35 on March 24 at the library. Melchers fielded a wide variety of questions, while focusing on mass timber construction as the way of the future. The Recorder and Times published an article by Nick Gardiner ( https://www.recorder.ca/news/local-news/are-wood-buildings-green ), as well as a letter to the editor from the Cement Association of Canada ( https://www.recorder.ca/opinion/letters/letters-not-the-whole-story-on-wood-buildings-blood-drive ). Another interesting article can be found at https://www.greenbiz.com/article/concrete-steps-inside-building-pressure-make-climate-friendly-cement .

Transition Brockville is pleased to have been the catalyst for an intelligent discussion of the relative sustainability of cement and wood as construction materials in the 21st century.


Transition Brockville was at the North Grenville Sustainability Fair where Michael Wiggin, a steering committee member, engaged people in discussions of the carbon fee and rebate and networked with other people and organizations on climate change and other issues. We thank Michael for his work and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby for sharing their table with us.

Brockville Councillor Cameron Wales introduced a motion declaring a healthy environment to be a right at council’s planning and operations committee meeting on April 2 (see https://www.recorder.ca/news/local-news/healthy-environment-a-right-councillors ). The committee voted to send the motion to the full council, which later voiced reservations and referred the motion back to the committee (see https://www.recorder.ca/news/local-news/environmental-rights-motion-kicked-back ). Wales based his motion on the declaration put forward by the David Suzuki Foundation’s “Blue Dot” movement (see bluedot.ca).

Cornwall city council passed a resolution on March 25 moved by Councillor Carilyne Hébert and seconded by Councillor Eric Bergeron “that the [city] administration provide a report on the creation of an Environment and Climate Change Committee. This committee will be tasked to assess our environmental footprint and create a plan to address our impact both as a corporation and as a city.”


St. Lawrence College Brockville seeks proposals for sustainability workshops

Shelley Hall, administrative support for Continuing Education and professor of the Office Administration Program, writes: “We are currently looking for course proposals for our fall and winter terms here in Continuing Education at Brockville’s St Lawrence College. Our focus is on sustainability and we are looking for instructors for weekly, weekend or one-day workshops. If you or anyone you know would be interested in teaching, please contact me and I will send you the form.” ( For information, call 613-345-0660, ext. 3283, Mon.-Thurs., 8 am-4 pm, or email shall@sl.on.ca .)

Transition Brockville Steering Committee meeting, Wed., May 8 , 7 -9 pm, at the Royal Brock Retirement Living, 100 Stewart Blvd., Brockville. Anyone interested in becoming more involved with Transition initiatives is warmly invited to attend this meeting. Call 613-345-4020 for more information.

Garden Farming in Suburbia – Transition United States is hosting a special May 8 web event on garden farming in suburbia , featuring permaculture’s David Holmgren. For more information, follow this link:


Join our Facebook group for news on sustainable living

Members of our steering committee frequently post items to the TB Facebook page, so if you are on Facebook, join the group and have a look at our page.


If you liked the nut-free cookies served as refreshments at our April meeting, here’s the recipe used by Ashley Stewart, a TB steering committee member:

West Coast Trail Cookies

Recipe by: WestCoastMom


· 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

· 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

· 1/3 cup flax seed meal

· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

· 1/4 teaspoon salt

· 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

· 1 cup dark brown sugar

· 1/2 cup white sugar

· 2 eggs

· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

· 2 cups rolled oats

· 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

· 1 cup dried cranberries

· 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

· 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pumpkin seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, flax seed meal, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

  3. Beat together butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy; Stir in eggs and vanilla. Stir flour mixture into creamed butter mixture until dough is just combined. Fold oats, chocolate chips, cranberries, coconut, and pumpkin seeds into dough just until evenly combined.

  4. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls or drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart; press to flatten slightly.

  5. Bake cookies in the preheated oven until lightly golden at the edges, about 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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