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Policy Proposal Notice:   EBR Registry Number:   011-9262
Waste Reduction Strategy
Ministry of the Environment
Date Proposal loaded to the Registry:
June 06, 2013
Keyword(s):   Waste Diversion  |  Waste
The comment period for this proposal is now over.
Description of Policy:

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 approximately 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. Recycling creates 10 times more jobs than disposal and 7 jobs are created for every 1,000 tonnes of waste recycled.

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.

The draft Waste Reduction Strategy, along with the proposed Waste Reduction Act, sets out the province’s proposed road map for removing the current barriers to increasing diversion, and harnessing the environmental and economic value of waste. The strategy describes Ontario’s vision, sets desired outcomes, and provides a blueprint for how we can get there through concrete actions, including the implementation of the proposed Waste Reduction Act, should it be passed.

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.

The vision of the draft Waste Reduction Strategy is a province which moves towards zero waste, recognizing the inherent value of all materials, while fostering economic and environmental innovation to increase access to convenient waste diversion approaches.

The draft Strategy outlines tools and actions to drive results. The elements of the strategy include: 

  1. Drive economic and environmental innovation by holding individual producers responsible for the end of life management of their products, including meeting government-set waste reduction outcomes.

  2. Use all-in pricing to ensure consumer protection and incent improved product design.

  3. Transform Waste Diversion Ontario into the new Waste Reduction Authority to oversee the individual producer responsibility regime with strong and effective compliance tools. 

  4. Increase support for municipal waste diversion and recognize the role municipalities play in diversion. 

  5. Transition existing programs under the Waste Diversion Act to the proposed Waste Reduction Act in a timely and smooth manner, ensuring services are maintained. This would include consultation on gradual increases to producer funding for the Blue Box. 

  6. Increase the diversion of a wider range of wastes, including as a first step the designation of paper and packaging from the IC&I sector. This would include consultation on the use of disposal bans to support diversion; a strategy to increase diversion of organics; and developing and implementing new standards for end-of-life vehicles.

An important aspect of the proposed approach is to protect customers by ensuring that recycling costs are included in the cost of the product as part of the cost of doing business.

The draft Strategy sets out potential implementation timelines, consultation considerations and provides key questions for discussion to inform Ontario’s path toward a future of zero waste.

Purpose of Policy:

Ontario is releasing a draft Waste Reduction Strategy for public comment.

The draft Waste Reduction Strategy provides a road map for how the province intends to set out clear environmental outcomes to ensure end-of-life products are diverted from disposal. This approach recognizes the economic and environmental benefit of harnessing the value of waste.

The draft Strategy accompanies the introduction of the proposed Waste Reduction Act, 2013.

Public Consultation:

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 Waste Reduction Act, 2013 will be informed by various opportunities for input throughout the legislative process. Please visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website for details (see link under Additional Information).

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 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 WDA 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.


Wendy Ren
Assistant Director
Ministry of the Environment
Integrated Environmental Policy Division
Waste Management Policy Branch
40 St. Clair Avenue West
Floor 8
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1M2
Phone: (416) 212-1128
Fax: (416) 325-4233

Additional Information:

The following government offices have additional information regarding this Proposal. 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
Floor 8
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1M2
Phone: (416) 325-4100