On June 26, 2001, the Ontario gov- ernment introduced legislation to establish a permanent long-term organization called Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO). The mandate of WDO is to develop, implement and fund waste diversion programs. The Waste Diversion Act, 2001 details the establishment, responsibilities and reporting requirements, and contains provisions dealing with enforcement and penalties for non-payment of industry fees.
The new legislation is expected to alleviate the financial burden imposed on municipalities for waste diversion programs and activities, and is seen as a successful conclusion to the voluntary program set up almost two years ago. (See this column in the April/May 2000 edition.)
WDO will be established as a not-for-profit corporation to be run by a board of directors from both industry and municipalities. WDO is charged to manage and encourage waste diversion by developing a strategy to fund 50 per cent of municipal blue box net operating costs. The corporation will also develop, fund and implement diversion programs for other materials, including organics and household special wastes.
WDO will set up industry funding organizations to establish and collect fees from industry to pay 50 per cent of municipal blue box costs. WDO will calculate blue box operating costs annually from figures supplied by municipalities. While the costs may vary depending on the price for recyclable materials, industry is required to cover 50 per cent of the net operating costs.
The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) will continue to pay for the cost of recycling alcohol beverage glass in municipal blue boxes. The LCBO contributed $12-million since 1998 and will contribute $5-million annually for the next five years. This year $4-million of that will go towards glass recycling by municipalities and $1-million will be directed as a one-time payment to assist in set-up.
The Act authorizes the introduction of regulations to address specifics regarding WDO’s efforts. For example, regulations will be promulgated to designate certain materials, including: blue box materials (food and beverage containers made of aluminum, steel, glass and plastic), newspaper, cardboard and box board as well as organics (kitchen scraps), household special waste, scrap tires, used oil, electronic components, batteries, and florescent light tubes.
Once a material is designated, the Minister of the Environment can require WDO to develop a diversion program for that particular waste. WDO would then establish a new industry funding organization to jointly develop a plan with a recommended industry fee schedule and performance targets. The Minister must approve all plans.
A separate industry funding organization could be established for every designated material. WDO will incorporate each one under Part III of the Corporations Act as a corporation without share capital.
These organizations will have the authority to designate stewards and determine their financial obligation for the particular waste. Stewards — persons who have a commercial connection to the designated waste or to a product from which the waste is derived — are required to pay fees to divert a designated waste, or to prepare an industry stewardship plan to manage their own waste. Fees received are held in trust to pay for the program and for certain other costs related to the legislation.
WDO or the minister may approve a plan as an alternative to a waste diversion program. If the alternative plan is approved, participants in the plan are exempted from the obligation to pay stewardship fees.
Membership on the WDO Board of Directors will consist of: four representatives from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario; three from CSR: Corporations Supporting Recycling; one from the Retail Council of Canada; one from the Canadian Newspaper Association; one from the LCBO; one from Brewers of Ontario; one appointed jointly by the Canadian Manufacturers of Chemical Specialities Association and the Canadian Paint and Coatings Association; one voting member appointed by the environment minister; and, one non-voting public servant appointed by the minister.
During the first year, the chair of the board will be one of the three individuals representing CSR. In the years following, the chair will be elected from the board. No remuneration (except expenses) will be given to board members.