Currently, waste diversion under the Waste Diversion Act is stalled. We generate about 12 million tonnes of waste a year but divert only 25 per cent from landfill. Much of our success is thanks to the actions of residents who are currently diverting about 46% of household waste; while the diversion rate for the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors is much lower.
This represents a lost opportunity to create new jobs, foster innovation and conserve resources. Recycling uses less energy, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and has less environmental impacts than extracting raw materials. Recycled materials have tremendous value and potential to create investment opportunities and new jobs, but we are sending those opportunities to landfill.
Failure to divert more of our waste from landfill has consequences for the dwindling capacity of Ontario’s municipal landfills. It also places increasing pressure on municipal taxpayers to fund diversion efforts and deal with rising costs.
On June 6, 2013 Bill 91, (the proposed Waste Reduction Act, 2013) was introduced in the Legislature. The government is proposing to replace the existing Waste Diversion Act, 2002 with the proposed Waste Reduction Act, 2013. If passed by the Legislature, the Act would increase waste diversion in Ontario and protect consumers.
The proposed new Waste Reduction Act would:
- Establish individual producer responsibility requirements relating to the diversion of end of life products which result in designated wastes. The Act would enable the setting of standards related to waste diversion and services. Producers would have the flexibility to determine how best to meet the standards. It would make producers and those persons related to a producer or group of producers equally responsible for meeting the set standards.
- Ensure consumer protection by requiring all-in pricing for designated wastes under the Act. The Act would also require any seller displaying waste diversion costs, embedded in the price of a product, to be stated in a transparent and accurate manner. False or misleading representations would be an offence under the Act. The new Waste Reduction Authority would be responsible for enforcing the all-in pricing provisions of the Act.
- Require producers to reimburse a municipality for the municipality’s collection and handling costs for designated wastes.
- Transform Waste Diversion Ontario into the new Waste Reduction Authority with responsibility to oversee the compliance and enforcement of the new individual producer responsibility regime. It would operate a registry, allow for inspections and enforcement, and be able to issue monetary penalties for non-compliance with the Act and regulations. The Authority would be financed by fees and administrative penalties, determined through future regulations.
- Repeal the Waste Diversion Act, 2002, but provide for the continuance of the four currently operating waste diversion programs through re-enacted provisions (Part VII) in the new Act. Once the programs are transitioned into the new regime, the re-enact provisions (Part VII) would be repealed.
The proposed framework legislation would continue the existing Blue Box program and would permit an increase in steward funding for the program beyond the current 50 per cent. When and how increased producer funding would be required would be subject to an extensive consultation process.
In addition, the new Act would provide various regulation making authorities, such as the designation of wastes, rules for monetary penalties and transition matters.
The purpose of the proposed Waste Reduction Act is to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of designated waste resulting from products.
The proposed Act is further explained in the accompanying draft Waste Reduction Strategy (see link under Additional Information), which outlines a roadmap for the implementation of the proposed legislation and complementary initiatives to increase diversion.
Under the province’s proposed approach, there would be an opportunity to create a new legacy that will help lead to a cleaner environment while fostering innovation, creating jobs and strengthening our economy.
This proposal was posted for a 90 day public review and comment period starting June 06, 2013. Comments were to be received by September 04, 2013.
All comments received during the comment period are being considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry.
Please Note: All comments and submissions received have become part of the public record.
Other Public Consultation Opportunities:
The proposed legislation and draft Strategy are based on a number of past and current consultation opportunities.
In 2004, the Ministry posted Ontario’s 60% Waste Diversion Goal, A Discussion Paper for public comment. The document identified the need to improve Ontario’s waste diversion results, particularly with regard to organic wastes and wastes generated by the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors. The paper explored options to improve the diversion of waste in Ontario, including landfill bans, more centralized organics processing, and the role of new technologies.
In 2008, the Ministry posted Toward a Zero Waste Future: Review of the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 to initiate the five-year review of the Waste Diversion Act. The paper solicited public comment on a number of waste diversion issues to help assess the Act’s effectiveness and determine if changes were needed to enhance waste diversion in Ontario. Extensive consultations with key stakeholders, including producers, municipalities, retailers, the waste management sector, environmental groups, and the public focused largely on evaluating the effectiveness of the framework in achieving diversion.
In 2009, a Minister’s report, From Waste to Worth: The Role of Waste Diversion in the Green Economy, provided findings from the review. The report also included proposed broad changes to the waste diversion framework centered on extended producer responsibility for the management of designated wastes, and using other complementary measures to increase diversion. Consultation with stakeholders and Ontarians provided feedback on the proposals to improve the waste diversion framework. The Ministry continues to review the feedback received from partners and the public on the consultation proposals regarding the Waste Diversion Act review.
In November 2012, a stakeholder roundtable discussion hosted by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario continued the dialogue the Ministry started on waste diversion. The roundtable confirmed that there is still consensus around the need for fundamental changes to Ontario’s waste diversion framework.
Ministry of the Environment
Integrated Environmental Policy Division
Waste Management Policy Branch
40 St. Clair Avenue West
The following government offices have additional information regarding this
To arrange a viewing of these documents please call the Ministry Contact or the Office listed below.
Waste Management Policy Branch
40 St. Clair Avenue West