Ontario Government issues Waste Reduction Discussion Paper

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The Ontario government recently released a discussion document entitled
Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper
, which reaffirms the Province’s commitment to the 3Rs and diversion from landfill including Ontario’s curbside Blue Box Program, municipal green bin programs for organics, and other waste recovery options.

The 29-page discussion document expands upon the commitments made by the Ontario government in December 2018 when it released Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations: A Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan. The paper poses questions that will help guide future decision-making to divert more waste from landfill.

The Discussion Paper acknowledges that existing and emerging technologies are increasingly allowing society to recover and recycle materials back into the economy rather than sending them to landfill. This is helping society to better protect communities and keep the air, land and water clean and healthy.

The discussion paper outlines eight key areas for action:

  1. prevent and reduce litter in our neighbourhoods and parks
  2. increase opportunities for Ontarians to reduce and divert waste at home, at work and on the go
  3. make producers responsible for the waste generated from their products and packaging
  4. reduce and divert food and organic waste from households and businesses
  5. reduce plastic waste going into landfills and waterways
  6. provide clear rules for compostable products and packaging
  7. recover the value of resources in waste
  8. support competitive and sustainable end-markets for Ontario’s waste

These eight areas of action are the steps the the government will take to make waste reduction, reuse, and recycling easier.

One key aspect of the discussion paper is the commitment by the government to making producers responsible for the waste generated by their products and packaging, encouraging them to find new and innovative cost-effective ways to recycle their products and lower costs for consumers. If the proposals in the discussion document are implemented, the transition to extended producer responsibility will increase the amount of household material recycled, while shifting the cost of recycling from municipalities – and taxpayers – to producers.

The discussion paper sets out goals, actions and performance measures and outlines how the government will decrease the amount of waste going to landfill and increase the province’s overall diversion rate.

The discussion paper is posted on the Ontario Environmental Registry for public comment. The deadline for public comment is April 20th 2019. The government states that the feedback on the discussion paper will help the province to move forward with a clear, comprehensive and outcome-based approach to reducing litter and waste.