On Wednesday October 28, Ontario Minister of the Environment John Gerretsen released From Waste to Worth: The Role of Waste Diversion in the Green Economy — a report on the review of the Waste Diversion Act of 2002.
The report is a significant document for anyone interested in where the government is headed in moving the province toward Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and related waste minimization efforts and diversion from disposal. The report suggests that (among other things), when consultations are finished, the industrial, institutional and commercial (IC&I) sectors will be required to dramatically reduce waste. Producers will pay for the full cost of end-of-life management (collection, processing and disposal) of products and packaging, and incineration of waste will not count as diversion.
As the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) states in its own news release about the report, “While it provides a notional direction for the future of waste diversion in Ontario driven by the government’s findings from their recent review of the Waste Diversion Act, it also contemplates changes to Ontario’s overall diversion framework that are intended to foster a ‘green’ economy.”
Each of the proposals outlined in the report is guided by a long-term vision of Zero Waste.
WHAT’S IN THE REPORT (summary courtesy of the RCO)
· A “State of the Union” address describing the current regulatory waste and recycling framework. It offers an analysis of what is working and what needs improvement.
· Details of stakeholder feedback offered during the recent review of the Waste Diversion Act.
· Lists key desired outcomes and principles upon which to base change.
· Changes to the Waste Diversion Act.
· Transitioning to 100 per cent EPR programs.
· Move toward outcomes based diversion programs.
· Obligates individual producers instead of designating Industry Funding Organizations (IFOs).
· Clarifying the Concepts of Diversion: Differentiating between waste management applications that recover materials for reuse or re-manufacturing versus those who burn waste for energy.
· Development of a long-term schedule to target various products to be designated under the Waste Diversion Act.
· Changing the role and governance of Waste Diversion Ontario.
· Establishing penalties for non-complying producers.
The report outlines additional tools to drive materials from waste to diversion including:
· Broadening the scope of EPR programs to include materials sold into the IC&I sector.
· Setting five-year diversion targets for EPR programs.
· Banning designated materials from disposal.
· Implementation of a disposal levy to all waste discarded in both the IC&I and residential sectors.
A copy of the report can be found at www.ebr.gov.on.ca and will be covered in depth in the December/January edition of Solid Waste & Recycling magazine.
The environment ministry has provided a deadline of January 11, 2010 for written responses.