Solid Waste & Recycling

Feature

Waste Initiatives (April 01, 2003)

Alberta Environment has released its draft waste action plan for 2002 to 2005. It initially introduced its "Action on Waste Program" in 1991 and since that time a 28 per cent reduction in waste dispos...


Alberta Environment has released its draft waste action plan for 2002 to 2005. It initially introduced its “Action on Waste Program” in 1991 and since that time a 28 per cent reduction in waste disposed to municipal landfills was achieved (as of 2000). However, the government subsequently realized that a new strategy was required in order to achieve increased diversion targets. Traditionally, efforts towards waste reduction have been primarily voluntary, but the government is now of the view that more aggressive initiatives are needed.

The targets under the draft action plan are to reduce the amount of waste sent to disposal in municipal landfills to 500 kg per capita by 2010 and to reduce household hazardous waste (HHW) disposed to municipal landfills to zero by 2010. The plan also envisions a provincial waste management committee that consists of government, municipalities, the recycling industry and other stakeholders, and the development of criteria to set priorities.

Looking ahead, the draft plan involves the establishment of a universal requirement for waste reduction plans for municipalities as a pollution prevention initiative, landfill bans for products with stable markets or that are hazardous substances, and a landfill ban on yard waste. The draft plan discusses the evaluation of existing recycling systems, such as for bottles, and the expansion of materials collection and program delivery. In addition, the plan contemplates the adoption and implementation of extended producer responsibility mechanisms.

WDO

The Ontario Ministry of Environment posted an information notice regarding a proposed regulation under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry that would prescribe used tires not refurbished for road use and tires not suitable for their originally intended purpose as “waste.” The environment ministry has the power to request that Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) develop and submit a proposed used tire diversion program, but in order to do so must first designate them as “waste” by regulation.

Regulation 273/02, entitled “Blue Box Waste,” was issued under the Act. Waste that consists of glass, metal, paper, plastic and textiles or any combination of these are prescribed as blue box waste. WDO also issued a call for ideas to make blue box recycling better. It is holding consultation sessions to provide the public with an opportunity to make recommendations. (See Editorial, page 4.)

SWAT team

In Ontario, recycling has been the subject of inspections by the ministry’s environmental SWAT Team. SWAT recently conducted an inspection sweep of waste recycling in apartment buildings, condominiums and other multi-unit residential buildings in the Greater Toronto area, Ottawa, Kingston and Belleville.

The purpose of the inspections was to assess compliance with Regulation 103/94, which specifies that owners of multi-unit residential buildings must provide source separation programs to their tenants. The programs must include: facilities for collection, handling and storage services that are adequate for the quantities of anticipated waste; measures to ensure removal of waste; information to users about the recycling program; and, reasonable efforts to ensure that material is recycled or reused.

Manitoba diverts e-waste

The Manitoba Conservation’s Sustainable Development Innovations Fund recently provided $50,000 for a project to demonstrate how to reduce the amount of consumer electronic products sent to Manitoba landfills. The project will be carried out in association with the Electronic Products Stewardship Organization. The research and demonstration project involves the collection, reuse and recycling of unwanted consumer electronics, and will examine some of the technical problems and hazardous issues associated with managing these types of materials.

B.C. oil recycling

British Columbia expanded its lubricating oil recycling program to include used oil filters and empty oil containers. The expansion is funded by brand-owners and consumers, and managed by the B.C. Used Oil Management Association, which is a non-profit organization led by industry. The expectation is that this expansion will result in a used oil recovery increase. Recycling facilities and collection and processing service will be funded through environmental handling charges collected when the products are sold.

N.S. recycling survey

The Nova Scotia-based Resource Recovery Fund Board released the results of a provincial recycling survey to assess public opinion regarding waste management programs and the direction of industry stewardship. Based on the study, it appears that 98 per cent of Nova Scotians have access to recycling through a curbside program, 100 per cent of residents can recycle at more than 85 special depots and 75 per cent of residents have access to curbside organics collection programs.

The survey indicates that many members of the public feel that industry, such as fast food restaurants, should be responsible for providing their own recycling and composting containers within their restaurants. In addition, 30 per cent would prefer to pay a recycling fee that is separate from the cost of the product purchased.

International developments

Manufacturers will be required to pay for recycling electrical goods such as refrigerators and laptop computers under an agreement between the European Union and the European Parliament. Member states will have to set up collection systems for waste electrical and electronic equipment and take measures to separately collect such equipment in order to achieve a binding target of 4 kg per capita per year for the separate collection of residential electronic equipment waste. Manufacturers will have to provide a financial guarantee once a new product is put on the market to ensure that management of the waste will be paid for by the producer once the equipment reaches the end of its life.

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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