Today is the last day of Waste Reduction Week in Canada, a yearly campaign focused on the principles of the circular economy, resource efficiency, and waste reduction. This effort raises awareness about waste management, recognizes environmental achievement, and encourages the development of new innovative ideas for effective resource recovery.
Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks marked the occasion with a series of waste-related announcements that reflect the government’s commitments to reducing litter and waste in our communities and to keep our land and soil clean as outlined in Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations: A Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. This week, Minister Jeff Yurek announced the following:
- Ontario Developing a Stronger, More Effective Blue Box Program – The province published a draft regulation for Ontario’s Blue Box program and launched a 45-day public consultation period. The proposed regulation would make producers of products and packaging 100% financially and operationally responsible for the waste they create. Currently, the cost of Ontario’s Blue Box program is shared 50/50 between municipalities and producers. This transition will see producers assumed the total cost of the program alleviating approximately $135 million annually from municipal expenditure. The draft regulation also aims to standardize the list of materials accepted in the blue box, expand services to more communities and facilities such as schools and retirements homes, and to establish North America’s highest diversion targets. Interested stakeholders have until December 3, 2020 to provide comment.
- Ontario Takes Action to Reduce Electronic Waste – The province unveiled its new regulation to manage end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment under a producer responsibility framework. The regulation, which comes into force on January 1, 2021, was the culmination of over a year of consultation with affected stakeholders. Producers of electronic equipment such as computers, printers, gaming systems, and cell phones will be responsible for managing the recycling and/or refurbishing of these products. This regulation builds on the success of the industry-led waste electrical and electronic equipment waste diversion program currently operated by Ontario Electronic Stewardship.
- Ontario Takes Action to Reduce Plastics Pollution in the Great Lakes - The province is providing $375,000 in funding to Pollution Probe to run a program to collect plastic waste from marinas around the province using innovative plastic-capture technology. Pollution Probe will utilize the funds to install two types of plastic capture technology, Seabins and LittaTraps, in up to 12 marinas throughout Ontario.
- Ontario Takes Steps to Ensure Surplus Food Does Not Go to Waste – The province will invest $5 million to create a Surplus Food Redistribution Infrastructure Program. This program will help food rescue organizations, First Nations communities, and Indigenous organizations purchase refrigerated trucks, freezers, storage places, and kitchen equipment so they can safely collect, preserve, and distribute unused, high-quality surplus food from grocery stores and restaurants to those in need.
In other Ontario waste-related news, in recent weeks the province has indicated it will:
- Release a policy paper for consultation to help identify opportunities to better recovery the value of waste and to support innovative technologies to help ensure valuable resources do not end up in landfills.
- Hold polluters accountable by creating an Administrative Penalties regulation to be utilized by the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) to ensure businesses comply with Ontario’s recycling targets and programs.
- Ensure transparency and oversight of RPRA for an effective producer responsibility regime in Ontario by proposing actions to increase data privacy, find cost efficiencies, and build trust in the organization.
Have questions? Get in touch with a member of our team.