Ontario is working to create a zero-waste future with the launch of a strategy that will divert more waste from landfills, create jobs and help fight climate change.
Today, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray announced Ontario’s Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy. This new strategy outlines the province’s plan to fight climate change by reducing landfilled materials that could otherwise be reused, recycled, composted and reintegrated into the economy.
The strategy includes 15 concrete actions to build up the province’s circular economy and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, such as:
- Requiring producers to take full responsibility for the environmental and financial management of their products and packaging, including small appliances, electrical tools, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, mattresses, carpets, clothing and furniture
- Implementing a framework to reduce the volume of food and organic waste going to landfill
- Requiring industrial, commercial and institutional sectors to divert more of the waste they produce from landfills
- Banning certain materials, such as food waste, beverage containers, corrugated cardboard and fluorescent bulbs and tubes, from disposal and driving creative strategies to reuse and recycle these items
- Improving oversight and accountability in the waste management sector, including by requiring producers to register and report on their waste management activities
- Reducing waste and building a circular economy is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- Over eight million tonnes of waste are sent to Ontario landfills each year.
- Greenhouse gas emissions from Ontario’s waste have risen by 25 per cent between 1990 and 2014 as the amount of waste disposed in landfills has increased.
- The Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016, and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016, came into force on Nov. 30, 2016.
- Every year in Canada, an estimated $1 billion in valuable resources is sent to landfill.
- The average Ontarian family creates enough waste to fill nearly 100 large garbage bags annually.
- Historically, Ontario’s waste sector was responsible for approximately six per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the province, 90 per cent of this from methane emitted by landfills.
- Every 1,000 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill generates seven full-time jobs, $360,000 in wages (paying above the provincial average) and $711,000 in GDP.
- Building on the Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario and the province’s Climate Change Action Plan, the government will soon be seeking input from people across Ontario on what should be included in a framework to reduce food and organic waste.