A Waste Diversion Backgrounder.

Ontario needs a waste diversion strategy that ensures producers and first importers accept more responsibility for the costs of managing wastes associated with their products, does not leave property taxpayers holding the tab for these costs, reduces environmental pollution and diverts waste from municipal landfills.

Even though residents are doing their share, Ontario is running out of licensed landfill capacity.  Since 1989, 649 of Ontario’s 730 landfills have closed.  Alternatives to landfill are becoming increasingly costly and the approval and assessment processes are very time consuming.

Ontario produces an estimated 12.5 million tonnes of solid waste per year, predominantly from the industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) sector.  This sector produces over 60 per cent of the overall waste in Ontario, with a diversion rate of only 12 per cent.  By comparison, of the 4.7 million tonnes of residential waste produced in 2011, 46.5 per cent was diverted.

Currently, property taxes pay for over 50 per cent of the actual Blue Box Program costs, subsidize some Household Hazardous Waste programs and pay 100 per cent of the costs of litter control, garbage collection and disposal.

The Province’s proposed Waste Reduction Act aims to make individual producers responsible for the costs of managing the waste created by their products and packaging.  This should provide property taxpayers with some relief, particularly as it could lift the 50 per cent cap on industry funding for the Blue Box Program.

The proposal creates additional incentives for businesses to reduce waste, improve products and packaging and use resources more efficiently.  This should improve consumer choice and make businesses more innovative and competitive.  The proposal also targets greater diversion in the IC&I sector.

AMO supports efforts to hold industries that produce and manufacture products responsible for the cost of waste diversion and encourage them to make greener products and packaging.  Successful waste diversion is also consistent with the development of a stronger economic environment in Ontario.

Producer Responsibility Success

Blue Box: Collects and recycles printed paper and packaging from Ontario households. Producers contribute 50 per cent of program net costs. Producers’ contributions in 2012 were about $98.5 million.

Household Hazardous Waste: Supports diversion and treatment of toxic products categorized into three phases.  Producers contribute up to 100 per cent for Phase I & II materials, totaling $39.4 million last year.  In 2011, the program diverted about 26,000 tonnes of municipal hazardous or special waste.

Used Tires: Collects and recycles tires generated from all sectors in Ontario. Industry covers 100 per cent of costs.  In 2012, about 145,550 tonnes of tires were diverted from landfill.

Electronics:  Collects and recycles waste electronics from Ontario households and businesses and is 100 per cent industry funded.  About 75,700 tonnes of waste was diverted from landfill in 2012.

Let your Member of Provincial Parliament know you support the proposed Waste Reduction Act.