Anyone who attended the November 3 announcement of Ontario’s Waste Diversion Organization (WDO) must have left disappointed. More than 12 months after the WDO was first announced, and after all the delays, what did we hear? Not much.
There had been talk of 50 per cent industry support for recycling by next year. This hasn’t happened. In response to questions at the announcement the 50 per cent support was described as a “goal.” There’s the annual $4-million “hush money” from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) to keep the deposit-return crowd quiet, or at least muted. And there’s an extra $1-million, too. Nothing in the handouts tells us why. At any rate, for all this, the LCBO also gets a seat at the WDO table. The LCBO’s as yet unheralded expertise will no doubt assist the discussions.
There’s half a million from the chemical and paint industries that will share a seat at the table. The newspapers have agreed to provide $1-million worth of advertising to promote recycling — enough for their seat.
CSR: Corporations Supporting Recycling gets four seats at the table, including the one at the head. The price tag is $4-million. The RCO gets a seat, and appears to have acquired it without paying the admission fee.
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) gets four seats. Of course, municipalities have been single-handedly bearing the approximately $45-million annual costs of recycling (not to mention organics and HHW) for the past three or four years. So they have paid their dues. The Ontario environment ministry gets the final seat.
This Star Chamber will be handing out whatever non-LCBO loot is actually raised next year. Another task will be to come up with a formula to fund recycling and other waste diversion programs. The pay out will apparently comprise $4-million a year to offset the cost of LCBO recycling, $2-million for composting, $2-million for re-engineering the Blue Box, $1-million for new HHW programs, plus $1-million for advertising. Pay outs total $14-million. Income totals $14.5-million. We’ll assume this other half-million is for the “administrative, technical and executive support” CSR is providing.
It’s curious to note from the ministry backgrounder that other than the LCBO payments, the amounts to be used to support recycling, HHW and composting are all described as “as much as $2-million, as much as $1-million and as much as $2-million” respectively. This leads to the inevitable question: Do we have the money or is it still under negotiation?
Another big question is: Who represents composting? CSR is not famous for its knowledge on the organic side of the ledger. And it has admitted it has no expertise on HHW.
Let’s hope that the AMO makes sure that there are people at the table with some composting and HHW expertise, or at least access to it. At the same time, let’s hope there will be some access to first-hand information on the Blue Box front. If we have to rely on someone else’s numbers we’ll be back to the days of CIPSI — imposed formulas and consultation after the package was designed.