OCC POLICY UPDATE: The Rules Around Waste Diversion Are Changing. What Business Needs To Know.

What is the Waste Reduction Act?

The Waste Reduction Act is a proposed framework for the Province of Ontario’s plan to increase waste diversion and to re-vamp the current waste diversion system, which is broadly seen as ineffective and inefficient.

The corresponding Waste Reduction Strategy is a blueprint for consultation, implementation, and next steps for reducing and harnessing the economic value of waste.

Key features of the waste reduction framework include:

  • Moving to an individual producer responsibility regime where individual producers are responsible for end-of-life management of their products and packaging
  • Transforming Waste Diversion Ontario into the Waste Reduction Authority, which would oversee compliance with the proposed producer responsibility regime
  • Efforts to boost diversion in the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) sector
  • Eliminating “eco-fees” at the cash register by introducing all-in product pricing (retailers would not be allowed to attach eco-fees at the point of sale)
  • Obliging producers to negotiate recovery/processing costs with municipalities
  • Increasing the diversion of a wider range of wastes, including organics, and developing and implementing new standards for end-of-life vehicles.


The Current Waste Diversion Process
Currently, waste diversion under the Waste Diversion Act is stalled. Ontario diverts 25 percent of total waste from landfill. Forty six percent of household waste is diverted, while the diversion rate for the industrial, commercial, and institutional sectors is much lower.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, 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.


Some Concerns
Many consequential details of the new regime are to be determined through regulations. They include:

  • The proposed Act will increase industry’s share of Blue Box funding, but we do not know how/when/what extent this share will increase
  • The Act obliges producers to negotiate with municipalities for the cost of recovery. How will government ensure that costs imposed are fair and that municipalities are maximizing efficiencies, etc.?
  • How will the proposed rules impact cross-border shopping and price differentials between Ontario and border states?


What can you do? Find out more and get involved
The Waste Reduction Act and Strategy has been posted for public review and comment. The Ministry is accepting comments until September 04, 2013 through the Environmental Registry.
Note: there will be further opportunities for public consultation at the regulatory development stage.


For any questions about this issue, please contact Josh Hjartarson, VP Policy & Government Relations, at 416-482-5222, ext. 2320.
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Isabelle Foley

As Director of Member Success I strive to help members connect and get the most out of their chamber membership. I am an advocate for local businesses and passionate about spotlighting our community's success. Join the growth!


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