A ground-breaking recycling plant began operations in Aldersyde Thursday, transforming landfill garbage into renewable diesel fuels.

The plant employs a thermal catalytic depolymerization process; converting plastics, construction, agricultural, and wood waste into high-grade, low-cost renewable diesel fuel.

When operating a full capacity, the facility will produce around 2,000 litres of fuel per hour.

Owned and operated by Cielo Waste Solutions Corporation, the company plans to have facilities online in Calgary, Medicine Hat, Grand Prairie, and Brooks by 2020.

"I’d like to think I am building the greenest corporation in the world," stated Don Allan, President and CEO of Cielo Waste Solutions, to an enthusiastic crowd of employees and guests.  "Our whole goal is to eliminate the requirement for landfill, we actually think we can import plastics."

Standing amongst several municipal politicians in attendance was City of Calgary councillor for Ward 14 Peter DeMong, who viewed the facility as a potential solution to Calgary’s recycling challenges. "We have had a problem with some of the lowest-grade recycling products in our program, we have found a home for most of it but that’s out on the coast in B.C."

"So if I can find it here just south of Calgary or in Calgary, I’ll take that any day of the week."

As for potential markets of the finished diesel product, Allan emphasized the fuel can be used in several applications. "We’re making it for the highway market, such as private vehicles, but we are also making jet diesel, we can make ocean-liner diesel, and military aircraft diesel, so basically we have a multiple-market for it."

Combined, the facilities are expected to divert some 128,000 tons of waste per year from Canada’s landfills.

When asked about the potential economic benefits of converted municipal waste, Councillor DeMong speculated on the far-reaching implications. "The amount of dollars and the amount of tonnage that is buried underground is just such a waste."

"To turn it around into an actual product that everybody needs and uses is just a win, win, win. I don’t see how anybody can lose."

Canada currently generates 31 million tons of garbage a year.

Each plant creates 25 full-time jobs, and Cielo estimates there is potential to construct and operate 40 refineries in Canada, diverting up to one million tons of landfill waste a year.