The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is again working on new legislation to replace the Waste Diversion Act, 2002. Like the previous attempt at this legislation, it is expected that it will continue to make individual producers of designated wastes responsible for end-of-life management with the existing Industry Funding Organizations being phased out. In anticipation of the new legislation, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) released a discussion paper that sets out the views of the Association with respect to the framework for waste diversion.
In the paper, the Association outlines a number of principles it expects to be included in the new legislation. Some of these principles include maximizing diversion of material from disposal; expanding the legislation to include diversion in the industrial, commercial, institutional sector; and minimizing the costs to municipal taxpayers in connection with the management of products and packaging. Other principles articulated by the Association relate to energy conservation and impacts on climate change, such as increasing the efficiency by which natural resources and energy are used and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Association also recommends focusing more on reduction and reuse efforts and encouraging environmental considerations when designing products and packaging.
The AMO paper also emphasizes the importance of including clearly defined roles for those involved in the waste reduction process, and establishing performance indicators to measure results and track progress. Compliance is another aspect of the Association’s focus in that it believes penalties and incentives are needed as part of the framework. The Association also has strong views on the role of municipalities and the importance of empowering them collectively, particularly in respect of governance, data collection and management, master contract negotiations, dispute resolution, and allocation of funds among municipalities.
Other recommendations in the paper include changing waste diversion measures from the current “weight-based” system to metrics based on volume and/or units sold and recovered to address the movement by industry towards use of lighter weight materials in products and packaging; and need for oversight of the program by an agency that is accorded sufficient power and is impartially controlled.
Municipalities want to ensure that the new framework takes into account the extensive investment they have made in infrastructure for the collection of waste, and the contracts entered into for waste collection with the private sector. The Association is also claiming that it has an exclusive right to collect Blue Box materials from residents, and states that they should be given the right to continue to provide this service and be appropriately compensated for doing so.
Federal Report Comments on Solid Waste Management
The Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development released a report entitled The Management of Municipal Solid Waste and Industrial Materials, which covers topics such as technological innovation in the management of municipal solid waste and industrial materials, and in reduction, reuse and recycling. The report also addresses recovery of energy from waste; best practices of municipal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions; and the role of the federal government in improving waste management through the implementation of extended producer responsibility regimes and supporting research and development initiatives.
The report prepared by the Committee focuses on the role that consumers play in waste reduction, as well as manufacturers who need to improve on products and packaging so that they are easier to reuse and recycle. In addition, the report suggests that municipalities need to implement best practices and use new innovative technologies in waste management, and that all levels of government need to take action to encourage the most efficient use of all resources across the entire supply chain.
The report makes numerous recommendations, including that the federal government continue to work with all levels of government and stakeholders to ensure best practices in waste management are shared and utilized; that the federal government encourage all Canadians to incorporate reduction, reuse and recycling into their daily routines; and that the federal government continue to support the efforts of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to promote the use of waste management best practices, including through the Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility and the Canada-wide Strategy for Sustainable Packaging.
Other recommendations include that the federal government encourage scalable solutions for waste management that will work throughout Canada and that it continue to support the commercialization of new technologies that will improve waste management and consider potential incentives to support the adoption and implementation of new technologies in waste management. Finally, the report recommends that the government continue to encourage the use of cellulosic fuel.
Paints and Coatings Stewardship Program in Ontario
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario and the Municipal Waste Association all announced that a new stewardship program for paints and coatings in Ontario will commence on June 30, 2015. The new program is intended to include all paint aerosols and non-pesticide marine coatings with maximum container size of 25 litres.
Management of the industry stewardship plan for paints and coatings will be transferred from Stewardship Ontario to the Product Care Association, and Waste Diversion Ontario has appointed a transitional team to address matters as the responsibility for the plan is transferred between Stewardship Ontario and the Product Care Association.
Rosalind Cooper, LL.B., is a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Toronto, Ontario. Contact Rosalind at email@example.com