AIM Environmental Group: Clearing the Way for Growth

AIM Environmental Group was founded in 1989 by Theo Van Wely, who found opportunities for successful growth in the recycling and waste management industry. Now the company operates three main divisions focusing on: composting, remediation, and demolition operations. Over the years, the company has developed solid partnerships with a number of European companies specializing in environmental services and integrated waste management. AIM also has a strategic partnership with Maple Reinders, a commercial and environmental development company, allowing both companies to team up on various projects.

The partnerships, with firms such as the Van Kaathoven Group, Komptech and BioSoil, allow the company to bring successful and advanced technologies to Canada that have already been in use throughout Europe and South America. Through these forward-thinking means, AIM has positioned itself as a single-source solution resource organization, and proving itself to be an expert in such areas as soil and groundwater remediation, water treatment systems, in-vessel composting systems, demolition services, as well as asbestos and abatement services.

Waste Not, Want Not

AIM's foremost strength is an ability to bring together a team of experience personnel with skills optimized for each project - ensuring clients always receive the highest level of quality in its service. The company makes every effort to find the safest, most reliable and cost-efficient solution for each project, drawing on a thorough knowledge of governmental regulations. These capabilities have led to AIM being the chosen partner of organizations such as the largest hydro transmission and transit company in Ontario.

Other ways in which AIM is set apart from the competition is that the company runs a mobile water decommissioning plant that is one of the largest in Ontario and is capable of processing up to 100 U.S. gallons of water per minute, according to the company. Additionally, the company, along with strategic partners, has designed and now operates a state-of-the-art composting plant – CCF (Central Composting Facility) in Hamilton, the largest in North America.

The composting facility turns biodegradable kitchen and yard waste from municipal green bin programs into the highest-grade compost, while being safe enough to be used without a permit from the Ministry of the Environment. As a partnership between the City of Hamilton, Maple, AIM and its European partners, the plant processes about one-third of the city's entire waste stream and converts it into a valuable soil amendment.

The compost starts out as a collection of source separated organics from the Hamilton area – food scraps, leaf and yard trimmings, excluding plastic bags, human waste, diapers, and sludge. After inspection, the waste is then shredded, processed to remove metal and glass and layered in tunnels for storage over a 10- to 14-day period. After the first storage period, the mixture is then pasteurized to kill off any harmful bacteria or pathogens, including weed seeds from yard trimmings. Afterwards, it is screened a second time, and then sent to be stored and matured for another 30 to 60 days before being sold. Throughout the entire process, the organic matter is continuously monitored by state-of-the-art programs to ensure the perfect level of oxygenation and positive microbial activity.

The project has been so successful that AIM will bring its experience to the City of Guelph’s Organic Waste Processing Facility, with operations expected to begin sometime in late-2011. AIM believes the compost produced can revolutionize the way that cities relate to their rural counterparts. “Farmers feed cities and cities feed farms,” proclaims the firm.

Making Room for Progress

In addition to its composting division, AIM has established itself a leader in the demolition and remediation sector. The firm offers comprehensive demolition consultations, including the identification and isolation of hazardous substances and a complete evaluation of the building’s structural integrity. This enables the firm to choose a demolition method and form a comprehensive plan for demolishing the building with the safety of employees and the community in mind.

Through its remediation operations, the company is then able to survey the quality of the site’s soil and water before treating it – either on-site or off-site. As a result, the site is brought up to Ministry of the Environment, city and environmental safety codes for further use.

Recently, the company demolished a strand of severely rundown storefronts in Brantford, Ontario. The project involved the evaluation, demolition and abatement of all 41 structures with special care taken to contain dust and other particulate matter within the urban area. The project was part of the City of Brantford’s plan to rejuvenate the downtown area. Expansion of a current University Campus and a new YMCA center for the town’s residents are now a possibility.

The firm also completed a large-scale restoration, remediation and demolition of a WWII-era air force training base for Ontario Realty Corp. Van Wely adds that “the land may eventually be parceled off and given to the Six Nations Reserve for development.”

The company celebrated its 20-year anniversary in 2009, which Van Wely declares was “a nice change of pace from our slow experience in 2008.” Overall, Van Wely remains optimistic about the economic situation of the country and the future growth of the company. “Obviously, some sectors are doing better than others. It seems like there’s a lot of money floating around looking for a home these days,” he explains, adding, “Eventually that money will have to get cycled back into the economy.”

Because of AIM’s strategic partnerships and diversity of expertise, Van Wely hopes to continue to grow the company’s composting division. “We will be expanding our organics division by one or two facilities in Ontario and possibly into northeastern Canada,” he asserts. As for the demolition and remediation operations, Van Wely states that the firm is “looking at possibly opening something in Alberta later this year.”

Standing on its diverse portfolio and solid partnerships abroad, AIM Environmental Group should have little issue maintaining the company's level of success no matter where the firm chooses to expand its intelligent strategies and dependable results.