Solid Waste & Recycling


Judicial Changes Across Canada

New Alberta recycling reg

New Alberta recycling reg

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development has announced a proposed recycling regulation in conjunction with the objectives set out in Alberta’s waste strategy entitled “Too Good to Waste.”

The proposed regulation contains several changes. The existing eight recycling regulations in the province will be consolidated into a single Designated Materials Recycling Regulation. In addition, the implementation will be delayed of extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs for two material categories (packaging and printed paper, and household hazardous waste) to allow these programs to be developed and put in place. Further, environment fees will be eliminated from the regulation.

The electronics program will be expanded to include new products such as small appliances, audio/visual equipment, telecommunication equipment and power tools. In addition, the used oil recycling program will be expanded to include other automotive fluid containers, and the current environmental fee on containers will be increased.

The government plans to conduct consultation sessions with respect to several of these proposed changes, which are intended to reduce waste, streamline the regulatory framework and shift end-of-life management costs from taxpayers to those parties that generate and use designated products.

One of the objectives of Alberta’s waste strategy is to align and harmonize Alberta’s approach with that of other provinces and to support the development of the EPR program as set up by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). In developing its waste strategy, the Alberta government concluded that 80 per cent of material currently sent to municipal landfills could be recovered.

Quebec electronics recycling reg

The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks has decided that certain electronic products must be included in a waste electronics and electronic equipment (WEEE) recovery and reclamation program. The added products include electronic games, audio/video devices, digital music players, digital cameras, GPS and some accessories.

Those companies that market products containing components referred to in the regulation must implement a program to recover and reclaim those components. The program must include management of recovered products in the order set out in the regulation, with reuse of the product being the most desirable objective, followed by recycling.

Auto wastewater sludge

Regulation 347 is Ontario’s general waste management regulation and sets out requirements relating to the management of various waste materials. Recently, the Ministry of the Environment posted notice on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry of an amendment to Schedule 1 of Regulation 347. Schedule 1 contains a listing of hazardous industrial wastes.

The amendment eliminates wastewater treatment sludge generated by the automotive industry in the manufacturing of motor vehicles from Schedule 1. The reason for the exclusion is to harmonize Ontario’s standards with the US EPA, which has delisted this material as a hazardous waste. While this means that this material will no longer be considered a hazardous waste, automotive manufacturers will still be responsible for properly charactering and managing this material under Regulation 347. In addition, waste disposal sites accepting the waste and waste management facilities processing the waste will still be required to be approved under Regulation 347.

On-farm AD facilities

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food have proposed amendments to Ontario Regulation 267/03 to allow more on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities with the option to be regulated under the Nutrient Management Act instead of seeking a renewable energy approval or environmental compliance approval under the Environment Protection Act.

The proposed revisions would permit on-farm anaerobic digestion facilities to increase the quantity of off-farm materials that can be used from 25 to 50 per cent without the need to obtain approvals. While the proportion of off-farm material treated could increase to 50 per cent, the annual limit of 10,000 cubic metres and daily limit of 200 cubic metres for these materials would be continued. Further, nutrient management strategies approved under the Nutrient Management Act would still be required.

Concerns relating to this proposal have come from the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA) and the Compost Council of Canada (CCC), which believe that increasing off-farm materials could increase safety risks and result in a lack of environmental standards. However, the government states that it has set out enhanced environmental requirements to ensure facilities are properly managed.

Odour impacts have been considered and certain amendments are proposed to address concerns including increasing the minimum retention time from 20 days to 35 days. There will be minimum setback distances to odour receptors such as neighboring residences. With respect to noise impacts, engineers will be required to consider how to design the facility to minimize noise, and delivery of off-farm materials would have restricted hours to mitigate concerns arising from deliveries and unloading activities.

Rosalind Cooper, LL.B., is a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Toronto, Ontario. Contact Rosalind at

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