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Ontario Launches Reducing Litter and Waste Discussion Paper

Published on
March 7, 2019

Yesterday afternoon the Honourable Rod Phillips, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks announced a 45-day public consultation pertaining to waste and litter reduction in the province. The government is seeking feedback on Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper and will be accepting comments until April 20, 2019.

The two primary objectives of the consultation are to obtain stakeholder input on 1) how best to decrease the amount of waste going to landfill and 2) how best to increase the province’s overall diversion rate, which has stalled at below 30% over the last 15 years.

The government’s overarching themes of affordability, finding balance, and enhancing competitiveness are evident throughout the document. The discussion paper emphasizes outcomes-based approaches, practical solutions, economic productivity, and resource efficiency.

There are eight action areas outlined in the discussion paper which reflect the waste and litter-specific actions proposed in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan launched in November 2018. These action areas, and a few examples of proposed steps, include:

1. Prevent and reduce litter in our neighbourhoods and parks

  • Day of Action on litter

2. Increase opportunities for Ontarians to reduce and divert waste at home, at work and on the go

  • Harmonize Blue Box materials
  • Address business and institutional regulations

3. Make producers responsible for the waste generated from their products and packaging

  • Transition diversion programs to producer responsibility
  • Consider designating additional materials

4. Reduce and divert food and organic waste from households and businesses

  • Expand green bin type programs
  • Develop a proposal to ban food waste from landfills

5. Reduce plastic waste going into landfills and waterways

  • Develop a national plastics action plan with other jurisdictions

6. Provide clear rules for compostable products and packaging

  • Consider producer responsibility and encourage changes to processing methods
  • Consider certification requirements

7. Recover the value of resources in waste

  • Consider role of thermal treatment and chemical recycling in Ontario

8. Support competitive and sustainable end-markets for Ontario’s waste

  • Cut red tape of innovative and low risk projects and improve approvals
  • Give municipalities more say in landfill approvals

Each action area includes an overview of proposed steps to meet objectives followed by a series of discussion questions for consideration.

The discussion paper also identifies how the province will monitor the success of its actions and evaluate progress through key performance measures.

In addition to the action-specific discussion questions, the document concludes with a series of overarching questions seeking feedback on priorities, competitiveness, and strategies for making Ontario a leader in waste reduction and diversion.

If you are interested in learning more about this consultation opportunity Sussex would be pleased to discuss with you further.