Comments were received on the Framework from the public and a wide variety of stakeholder sectors, including the waste management industry, IC&I sector, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, the agri-food industry, public health and academia. The ministry also considered comments:
- Submitted in response to the Discussion Paper: Addressing Food and Organic Waste in Ontario which was posted for 60 days from May 31 to July 30, 2017 (EBR No. 013-0094).
- Raised during two information webinars held on November 30 and December 1, 2017.
The final Framework was also informed by input from the ministry’s stakeholder working group. This group included representatives from municipalities, the waste management industry, producers, non-governmental organizations, the agri-food industry (e.g. farmers, food processors), generators of food and organic waste in the IC&I sector, food rescue organizations and academia.
The ministry also undertook sector specific meetings with waste management organizations, industry and municipalities prior to finalizing the Framework.
In addition, the ministry continued to engage its internal working group on the final Framework, which included the following participating ministries: Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Advanced Education and Skills Development; Community and Social Services; Economic Development and Growth; Education; Energy; Government and Consumer Services; Health and Long-Term Care; Housing; Municipal Affairs; Natural Resources and Forestry; Northern Development and Mines and Treasury Board Secretariat.
Public and stakeholders are generally supportive of the release and implementation of the Framework.
Most of the comments received supported:
- Establishing an Ontario Food Recovery Hierarchy.
- Developing actions and policies that target all sectors of the supply chain.
- Increasing resource recovery and setting targets for all sectors.
- Developing promotion and education tools to support food waste prevention and reduction, highlighting the need for consistent messages and cross-sectoral partnerships.
- Amending the 3Rs Regulations to increase resource recovery across the IC&I sector.
- Developing food safety guidelines to support the safe donation of food.
- Developing and encouraging partnerships and innovative approaches and tools to safely rescue surplus food.
- Incorporating waste reduction and resource recovery activities within schools to educate children and facilitate behavioural change.
- Promoting beneficial uses of recovered resources and supporting processing infrastructure.
Some of those who commented raised the need to:
- Clarify that the Framework is intended to change behaviour in support of the prevention and reduction of food waste in Ontario.
- Consider either accelerating or increasing timeframes for the achievement of targets.
- Ensure that sufficient infrastructure and processing capacity is developed prior to the full implementation of a possible disposal ban on organic waste.
- Consider amending thresholds for waste generated by large educational institutions to help ensure that school age children are able to participate in waste reduction and resource recovery activities
- Increase waste reduction and resource recovery of food and organic waste from multi-unit residential buildings across Ontario.
- Support the safe redistribution of surplus food, while recognizing that it is not a long-term solution for food insecurity among low-income individuals.
- Consider opportunities and potential support to implement policies and actions outlined in the Framework.
Key amendments to address the comments heard and to improve the Framework included:
- Updating the guiding principles to recognize the need to promote behaviour change to prevent food from becoming waste.
- Providing explicit timeframes for implementation of policies within the Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement, recognizing the need to allow for sufficient time to meet targets and achieve outcomes.
- Amending thresholds for large educational institutions and hospitals from 300 kg to 150 kg of waste generated per week to help ensure that these institutions continue to play a leading role in resource recovery, recognizing that many institutional establishments already source separate food and organic waste.
- Directing owners of multi-unit residential buildings in both Southern and Northern Ontario to provide collection of food and organic waste and promotion and education to residents in order to ensure equal service levels across the province.
- Providing direction to encourage best practices to avoid contamination of collected food and organic waste.
- Several minor administrative changes were also made to improve clarity of the document.
All comments have been considered during the finalization of the Food and Organic Waste Framework.