The Ontario government has launched an inspection and compliance campaign designed to get industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) organizations to comply with the province’s so-called “3Rs regulations” and divert more waste from landfill.
Currently, the IC&I sector diverts only about divert only about 20 per cent of its waste, compared to the residential diversion rate of 38 per cent. Yet IC&I waste is two-thirds of the total waste stream.
The government is emphasizing inspections for the time being along with education, and is avoiding laying charges. However, failure to abide by the rules after notification can trigger fines ranging from $500 for minor offences to $6 million per day for companies convicted of a first major offence. Individuals can be fined $4 million per day and face jail terms of five years less a day.
Ministry inspectors have so far visited 119 establishments since March, most of them in the Toronto area. Any establishment not abiding by the rules will be given 60 to 90 days to comply with the recycling rules.
Ontario’s Environment Minister Laurel Broten said that boosting the amount of recycling done by the demolition, construction, industrial, commercial and institutional sectors is “critical'” to achieving Ontario’s goal of 60 per cent waste diversion by 2008. The regulations encourage businesses to source-separate of recyclable materials as well as (it’s hoped) compostable organics.
The regulations were put in place in 1994 and require businesses and institutions of a certain size to conduct waste audits and draw up waste-reduction plans. Waste must be separated according to material type and subsequently recycled. Affected entities include construction and demolition companies, apartment buildings, schools, malls, hospitals, hotels and motels, office building, restaurants and manufacturers who meet the size criteria.