Ontario Government Proposes New Waste Reduction Strategy

Legislation calls for producer responsibility and the creation of a new Waste Reduction Authority.

June 12, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations

The province of Ontario is proposing legislation that, if passed, would require producers to take responsibility for recycling the products they sell.

The proposed Waste Reduction Act would encourage producers to turn more waste into new products, which, legislators believe, would generate new investment and create jobs. Ontario's proposed Waste Reduction Strategy, also released for public and stakeholder feedback, sets out a blueprint and timeline for how and when the proposed act would be implemented.

The proposed Waste Reduction Act and strategy would boost recycling in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector, starting with paper and packaging waste. The Act seeks to protect consumers from eco-fees by making sure that recycling costs are included in the advertised price of a product. The move would then motivate companies to look for ways to make their recycling processes more economical and stay competitive.

Other provisions in the act are designed to bring about improved oversight and accountability of waste diversion by clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of individual producers, the provincial government, municipalities and a new Waste Reduction Authority.

The act would allow for greater producer funding of the Blue Box program, easing the financial burden on municipal property taxpayers, and would foster innovation in product and packaging design, according to Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment.

“We want an Ontario where waste becomes worth in the form of a cleaner environment, new investment, new recycling factories, new jobs and new Ontario-made products,” says Jim Bradley, Ontario’s minister of the environment. “Our proposed legislation can help get us there.”

The Ministry says that recycling more waste is part of the new Ontario government’s plan to create jobs and build a stronger, greener economy for future generations. About 60 percent of Ontario’s 12 million metric tons of waste generated each year comes from industries, businesses and institutions such as shopping malls, hospitals and offices, but only 13 percent of it is recycled, the Ministry notes.