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Ontario releases HHW plan details

Following the decision earlier this year by Ontario's Ministry of the Environment to designate "municipal hazardous...


Following the decision earlier this year by Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment to designate “municipal hazardous and special waste” (MHSW) under the Waste Diversion Act, Minister Laurel Broten has announced details surrounding the development of a WDO program and the three phases of materials to be added to the program.

The minister has directed Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO), the industry-funded organization responsible for Ontario’s blue box program, to develop and fund a diversion program for hazardous and special wastes from homes and small businesses. WDO has been asked to look at financial or other incentives to reuse and recycle hazardous materials, and to increase the number of collection sites, especially in areas that currently do not have access to depots. The organization is also to promote best practices, encourage innovative diversion techniques, and to develop an education program.

Materials will be added to the program in three phases beginning with paints, solvents, pesticides, disposable batteries and used oil filters and containers. WDO’s plan for phase one must be delivered to the minister by May 31, 2007.

Future phases will include portable fire extinguishers, fluorescent lights, pharmaceuticals, syringes and thermostats and other measuring devices containing mercury. A complete listing of phase 2 & 3 materials is available as an attachment the ministry letter to WDO. (The ministry media release, background document and WDO letter are available on the Ontario Waste Management Association [OWMA] website at www.owma.org)

The organization whose members represent the municipal staff that operate household hazardous waste (HHW) programs has welcomed the news that Ontario is moving ahead on HHW stewardship.

Mike Birett, chair of the Guelph-based Association of Municipal Recycling Coordinators (AMRC), said he is encouraged by Tuesday’s announcement that the province has asked WDO for a program plan by the end of May of next year.

“The AMRC is very pleased to note that the province, in keeping with its recent announcement of deposit/refund for LCBO containers, has embraced the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR) for household hazardous waste as well.”

The management and disposal of HHW, for so long a municipal responsibility and financial burden, will now shift to their rightful owners, the manufacturers and brand-owners of these products, he said.

“The AMRC applauds the requirement for HHW stewards to ensure there is sufficient collection infrastructure and access in all areas of the province,” said Joe Hall, AMRC vice-chair and chair of the AMRC Household Hazardous Waste Committee.

Municipalities will also welcome the requirement for HHW stewards to meet specified benchmarks and performance measure, he said.

The AMRC, along with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), issued a position paper of HHW in June. Among the document’s eight recommendations were making HHW programs more accessible, ensuring more opportunities for reuse and reduction and the application of the principles of EPR and Design for the Environment.

“The AMRC appreciates the province’s leadership and looks forward to working with HHW stewards on this important file,” said Birett.

For more information, visit www.amrc.ca and www.owma.org


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