Recent developments in residential recycling legislation in Canada’s two most populous provinces (Quebec and Ontario) are setting the stage for a new approach to “public-private partnerships” for recycling in general and market development activities in particular.
Ontario’s Waste Diversion Act (which has been law since 2002) and Quebec’s Bill 102 (passed this year) mandate that “stewards” bear 50 per cent of the recycling costs for packaging and printed materials that become “blue box waste.” The other half of the cost remains with the municipality. The net effect of this funding is that private and public sectors have a shared interest in achieving provincially mandated diversion targets in a manner that contains and lowers both partners’ costs. The Ontario program (which has about a two-year head start on Quebec) takes another step and will be paying to “best practice” costs by 2008.
On the market development front, the Ontario program also includes a unique public-private partnership to support the development of markets for mixed broken glass. With greater commingling of recyclables in the province, more and more glass collected from the curb gets broken. Mixed broken glass currently has a negative market value of about $40/tonne in Ontario. In response to this problem, six Greater Toronto Area (GTA) municipalities are coming together to collaboratively market about 60,000 tonnes of mixed broken glass per year for the next seven years. Once those contracts are in place (likely this fall) Stewardship Ontario — the industry funding organization for blue box waste in the province — has agreed to invest up to $2 million dollars in the successful end market processor.
For GTA area municipalities (and stewards who pay into these programs), this new public-private mixed broken glass program is expected to return Stewardship Ontario’s $2 million investment many times over.
Contact Damian Bassett at 416-594-3457, ext 3457 or visit www.csr.org (CSR Sheet located under “Publications”)
NOTE: This is the last edition in which Damian Bassett and the crew at CSR/Stewardship Ontario will produce Commodities Corner. The magazine wishes to thank everyone for doing a great job over the years, with a special thanks to Bev Stone, who helped with many of the articles. A new author will be announced soon. — ed.