Today, Jim Bradley, Minister of the Environment, announced a waste reduction strategy that would replace the current Waste Diversion Act with a Waste Reduction Act.

This new approach will focus on producers being responsible for “end-of-life” management of the products and packaging they generate.

The proposed legislation will recognize municipal governments’ role and investments in the provincial waste diversion system and will build on it. We understand that the proposed Waste Reduction Act could lift the current 50 per cent net costs cap on producer funding for the Blue Box Program, as well as require that reasonable municipal Blue Box costs are considered in this process. This again is an extremely welcome step to reduce producers’ use of property tax dollars to manage the disposal or recycling of their products and packaging.

When producers do not take responsibility for waste diversion programs, municipalities, as local governments, must manage the waste and local taxpayers end up paying the bill.

Service standards for consumer accessibility and convenience will be developed along with minimum collection and recycling targets. These standards will be critical so that all communities throughout the province can contribute to increasing waste diversion and reducing what goes to landfill.

It establishes an individual producer responsibility system (IPR). This means individual producers would be responsible for environmental targets set by government on a product by product basis. Other highlights of the proposed strategy include strengthening the Blue Box Program, and increasing organics diversion.

The proposed Waste Reduction Act would:

  • Make individual producers responsible for reduction and recycling results;
  • Transform Waste Diversion Ontario into a Waste Reduction Authority that has more tools for oversight, compliance and dispute resolution;
  • Use of “all in pricing” to incorporate the price of recycling into the wholesale cost of the product; and
  • Designate additional wastes such as industrial commercial and institutional (IC&I) sector materials, starting with printed paper and packaging, to significantly increase waste diversion efforts.
These changes in our view will provide the much-needed incentive to reduce packaging and to recover more value from what is thrown away. It allows consumers to make choices based on producers that meet their waste targets in cost effective ways. It should also encourage producers to be more innovative and efficient.

Consultation on this strategy is planned over the summer and we expect that all information will be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry (EBR) shortly.

We look forward to meaningful consultation and results on these initiatives and we will keep AMO members posted on any new developments and details as they become available.

What you need to do:
  • Inform your residents – more waste  diversion means a longer life for landfill sites and better stewardship of limited resources;
  • Inform your MPPs – more producer responsibility makes business less dependent on property taxpayers to pick up the costs and will foster innovation and more efficient packaging.  It also reduces the need to site new landfill sites and rightly moves costs to those who generate the expense; and
  • Participate at consultations and respond to the EBR posting.
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