Waste Diversion Ontario the government-sanctioned agency that oversees product stewardship programs for the province has rejected the final version of a used-oil stewardship program proposed by the Ontario Used Oil Management Association (OUOMA), which represents companies from the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute (CPPI) and retailers such as WalMart and Canadian Tire.
OUOMA has lobbied the Ontario government to adopt a used-oil material stewardship program virtually identical to ones established by similar associations in the western provinces.
Like the western programs, some say, the OUOMA proposal sought to allow brand owners and retailers to contract out their responsibility and liability to a government-approved industry funding organization that would pay for used-oil collection via a system that includes environmental handling charges (EHCs). OUOMA claimed that used-oil recovery rates in Ontario are low, and the EHCs and other components of the system would boost recovery and disposal at "government approved facilities."
Critics of the OUOMA plan pointed out that the private sector has already evolved a sophisticated used-oil recovery and re-refining system in the province that captured approximately 78 per cent of used oil in 2002 more than the western provinces and their OUOMA-types systems. OUOMA’s scheme, they said, would encourage more burning of contaminant-laced used motor oil in kilns and space heaters that often lack pollution controls, and greater export of used oil to the United States for this purpose. The critics suggested that OUOMA’s plan was offside of the WDA legislation, which explicitly states that stewardship programs shall not promote burning, but instead should encourage the 3Rs hierarchy.
OUOMA has the right to unofficially appeal directly to the province’s Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky to approve the plan, despite the WDO decision.
Solid Waste & Recycling magazine will report on the outcome of lobbying and future developments on this issue. At the time of this writing it looks as though OUOMA and other stakeholders will be back at the drawing board to devise a new plan that encourages re-refining and perhaps collects used-oil containers and filters in a deposit-refund system.
For further background, see Editor Guy Crittenden’s article “Lubricating Public Policy” in the December/January 2003-2004 edition of Solid Waste & Recycling magazine. The article can be accessed in the archives section of this website. Readers can also access related material by searching on keyword “OUOMA” at this website.