I had a great time at the Municipal Waste Association conference in Hockley Valley on 18 and 19 May. As I said to Sue McCrae the outgoing president the MWA consistently puts on great and well organized events.
This year’s conference featured a keynote by Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller as well as a panel of politicians, including Ontario’s current environment Minister, John Wilkinson.
Mr. Miller spoke about how we just are not moving waste diversion along at an acceptable pace. We have identified the problem and identified solutions but cannot seem to get around to implementing all the solutions. Because the process takes so long we are stuck in an iterative loop that features questioning the problems and re-identifying solutions.
The Minister spent his time discussing the progress the government has made and acknowledging last year’s challenges with the Eco Fees. Toby Barrett, the Progressive Conservative environmental critic rambled, quite frankly, and touched on a number of issues, such as Waste Diversion Act (WDA) reform and of course the Eco Fees. He did not put forward a clear policy his party would implement. Although they don’t align so much with my political persuasions the best talks were given by the NDP and Green party candidates. In particular the Green Party member was well spoken and actually had a plan. He identified a number of key issues including: The WDA fails to prioritize reduce and reuse, instead focusing on recycling; there is a skewed cost structure for landfilling; there are no financial incentives to reduce waste generation.