Solid Waste & Recycling

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Waste Initiatives Across Canada (December 01, 2005)

Newfoundland's mandatory office recycling...


Newfoundland’s mandatory office recycling

As of September 1, 2005, office paper recycling has become mandatory for businesses with twenty-five employees or more in the Newfoundland communities of St. John’s, Mount Pearl, Paradise and Conception Bay South. According to the Waste Diversion Regulations, office paper recycling will apply to all office premises in these communities, regardless of size, by March 1, 2006.

The Multi-Materials Stewardship Board introduced the paper recycling program. The regulations that implement the program prohibit industrial, commercial and institutional organizations that are governed by the regulations from sending recyclable paper waste to local landfills. The program is part of Newfoundland’s waste management strategy and, in particular, its objective of reducing landfill by 50 per cent by the year 2010. Given that fibre products, such as cardboard and paper, make up approximately 30 per cent of the waste stream, it’s expected that the diversion of office paper will assist greatly in achieving this objective.

Businesses must ensure that all recyclable paper products are separated and diverted from the regular waste stream. They must also ensure that employees and visitors are made aware of the requirement for recycling paper products, and understand how to do this. Businesses will be required to have their office paper taken to a recycler, either by the company itself, or through a waste hauler or a local recycler. In larger buildings, the building or property manager can make arrangements for this.

An important part of this initiative includes an educational program, and the Board has worked with the four affected communities as well as representatives from business to develop and implement an educational program on office paper recycling. The Board is hopeful that businesses will actively participate in the program without the need for enforcement, but is prepared to utilize enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance.

Governance of Stewardship Ontario

The Ministry of Environment in Ontario recently approved a proposal submitted by Waste Diversion Ontario to amend Ontario’s Blue Box Plan. The changes are targeted at the governance structure of Stewardship Ontario — the industry funding organization for the Blue Box Program Plan under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002.

The revisions include expanding the membership of the Board of Directors from seven to fifteen members, and establishing two new advisory committees including a policy advisory committee (which would include representatives from affected industry sectors not directly represented on Stewardship Ontario’s Board) and a technical advisory committee (which would include representatives from packaging and material suppliers, recyclers, service providers, municipalities and NGOs). The intent is to allow those not considered to be “stewards” to have input on policy and technical matters, and also to permit representation from the restaurant and hardware sectors.

Northwest Territories action on beverage containers

The Northwest Territories’ Beverage Container Program took effect on November 1, 2005. The Regulation that implements the program includes a refundable deposit and handing fee, which would be added to the cost of ready-to-serve drinks, and the ability of the consumer to recover the deposit by taking the beverage container to the nearest depot.

Depots will ship the used beverage containers to a designated regional processing centre, which will process the containers and sell them to recycling markets. The program is intended to divert the 25 million ready-to-serve beverage containers sold in the Northwest Territories that would otherwise go to landfill or end up as litter.

Saskatchewan and B.C. e-waste

New regulations under Saskatchewan’s Environment Management and Protection Act, 2002 will take effect on February 1, 2006. The regulations will require that every “first seller” operate a product management program, approved by the environment minister, or enter into an agreement with another person to operate a product management program approved by the minister, on the first seller’s behalf.

The product management program must satisfy certain criteria including oversight, collection methods, recycling options, funding, quality assurance and public education. On or before June 30th in each year, every first seller operating a product management program (or a person operating a product management program on the first seller’s behalf) must prepare and submit to the minister an annual report describing the activities of the program during the previous reporting period.

In British Columbia, the environment ministry announced its intention to regulate electronic equipment under the provincial Recycling Regulation pursuant to the Environment Management Act. A discussion paper has been released regarding the addition of electronic equipment to the Recycling Regulation, which provides background information on policy and regulatory issues. The program is expected to be fully operational by mid-2007. A similar program is intended to be fully operational for tires by late 2006.

Rosalind Cooper, LL.B. is a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, with offices across Canada. Ms. Cooper is based in Toronto, Ontario. E-mail Rosalind at rcooper@tor.fasken.com

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