Alberta brews amendment
Alberta has amended its Beverage Container Recycling Regulation under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act to delete the exemption for Alberta-based brewers. As of November 15, 2001, Alberta’s recycling system will include beer bottles and cans.
Alberta brewers were previously exempt from the 1972 regulation on the basis that an effective bottle-return system was implemented. However, the government found that this system was rather limited in terms of accessibility, and that legislation was needed to improve the recycling system for beverage containers currently in place in Alberta.
B.C. scraps tire program
In British Columbia, the Supreme Court has rejected the province’s used tire recycling program. The program was not administered through legislation, but rather through policy documents and financial incentives. In its decision, the court held that it was not sufficient to administer the program in this manner, and that the government would have to develop regulations.
The Financial Incentives for Recycling Scrap Tires (FIRST) program has been in operation since 1991 and involves payment of a subsidy to registered processors. The subsidy is intended to defray hauling costs, and eligibility depends on registration of processors with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks.
The case involved a processor who applied for registration. The ministry’s agent requested additional information, stating that the application would not be processed until the information was provided. The processor challenged this decision, arguing that the program could only be operated by regulation. The ministry argued that FIRST was not a regulatory program, but rather flowed from the government’s expenditure powers. It also argued that while the government has discretion to issue regulations regarding the program this was not required.
The Supreme Court held that the scheme was more than a government expenditure and that, although participation of the program was not mandatory, its effect was to regulate the scrap tire recycling industry. The court gave the ministry 90 days in which to draft regulations on scrap tire recycling. The government is seeking leave to appeal the decision which has created concern about other programs in B.C. that are also not administered through regulations, including the vehicle battery recovery program.
Ontario hazardous and solid waste
In Ontario, the Ministry of the Environment has amended the General Waste Management Regulation under the Environmental Protection Act. The changes require annual re-registration by generators of hazardous and liquid industrial waste, as compared with the current one-time procedure. There will be a charge associated with registration (only municipal household hazardous waste depot sites would be exempt).
In addition, all generators would be subject to a $50 fee for each registered site, a $5 fee for each manifest used to ship waste off-site for treatment or disposal, and all primary generators would be charged $10 per tonne of hazardous waste generated. This latter charge would only apply to hazardous waste and not liquid industrial waste, and would not apply if the waste were to be recycled.
The Solid Waste Resources Diversion Task Force in Toronto has presented a report outlining a new system that would divert 60 per cent of Toronto’s household solid waste resources from landfill by the end of 2006. This constitutes an increase of 33 per cent from the current diversion rate.
Under the proposal, solid waste would be separated into three categories: the first is combined blue and grey box materials; the second is kitchen solid waste resources (placed in a bin and collected weekly for composting); and the third is residue to be placed in a regular garbage bag.
The report also details the improvement of existing programs: plastic bags for overflow blue box materials, lower bag limits, curbside collection of scrap metal, and a return program for certain types of household hazardous wastes (such as paints) at participating locations (such as hardware stores).
Quality facilities in Quebec
Due to the large number of livestock facilities (and the level of surplus manure) in Quebec, amendments to the Regulation Respecting the Reduction of Pollution from Agricultural Sources under the Environment Quality Act have been published. As of June 14, 2001, there is a prohibition on new livestock facilities and on any increase in the number of livestock units at existing facilities.
In addition, applications for manure storage facilities in a cultivated field (which receive manure originating from livestock other than beef cattle, pigs or hogs) must be accompanied by a report describing the measures that will be taken to prevent water contamination.
Maritime waste management
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Waste Management Advisory Committee recently completed a series of discussions on waste management. As a result, the committee is preparing a report that will be used to develop a provincial waste management strategy.
The government has also announced a new program, “Charge Up to Recycle,” which accepts nickel metal hydride, lithium ion and small sealed lead rechargeable batteries (commonly found in cellular phones, laptop computers, camcorders, power tools, cordless phones and children’s toys). The used rechargeable batteries can be dropped off at certain retail locations at no cost.
In addition, the government has launched a rechargeable battery stewardship program for employees in which collection boxes are distributed to all government offices.
Rosalind Cooper, LL.B. is a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, with offices across Canada. Ms. Cooper is based in Toronto, Ontario.