Getting Organics out of Ontario’s Garbage

Organics (such as food scraps and other compostables) are a valuable resource: through composting organics, we recycle their valuable nutrients to support healthy soils, and in some cases, create green energy and green jobs!

Right now, the Province of Ontario is developing a Food and Organic Waste Strategy. This strategy isn’t just a part of the the Waste Free Ontario Strategy - it’s also part of the Climate Change Action Plan.

This strategy contains a bold plan to place a disposal ban on organics - making it illegal to send organics to a landfill or incinerator. We want the government to hear that this ban is a good idea and that the public supports it!

You can join us in showing support before July 30th. Act now.

Here’s why we think a disposal ban is such a great idea and how it could be rolled out in Ontario:

What the ban means

  • Larger cities in Ontario collect organics separately already, but this ban would require businesses to keep organics out of their garbage too.

  • When phased in properly, and in combination with other tools, a ban is an effective way to get organics out of our garbage.

How would it happen

  • A ban would be part of a larger strategy to reduce food waste, redistribute surplus food to feed people and animals, and ensure high value composting

  • It would be paired with requirements for businesses and municipalities to collect organic waste separately (e.g. use a green bin) and send it for composting.

Focusing on organics will have a big impact

  • Organics are the largest category of waste - over half of residential waste is organics. For many businesses, that number is even higher. 

  • Keeping organics out of the garbage reduces greenhouse gas emissions. When organics dumped in landfills break down, they create methane  - a greenhouse gas 80 times more powerful than CO2.*

  • Turning organics into compost creates healthy soils to absorb carbon dioxide and grow more plants. In some cases, it can also create green energy!

Organics bans already exist elsewhere - and they work

We can learn from what other cities and states have done:

  • Quebec has announced plans to ban organics disposal to start in 2022

  • Metro Vancouver announced a ban on organics disposal in 2013, and started enforcement in 2015. Waste companies are inspected at transfer stations, and are fined if they have too much organic waste. These companies then have an incentive to better educate their customers, provide better services, or inspect their customer’s waste before picking it up.

  • State of Massachusetts also has banned organics disposal since 2014. They’ve seen a 150% growth in green jobs because of this ban!

The Province is seeking feedback on the first Discussion paper until July 30th, 2017. Use our form to send a quick letter.

TEA is working with other environmental and health organizations to comment on the discussion paper. We’ll post our comments and updates on our website. The discussion paper will inform the final Strategy that is expected to be complete and posted for final public comment in late 2017.



* Source: 2016 Annual GHG Progress Report - Facing Climate Change, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, 2016. (Read here)

** Source: Massachusetts Commercial Food Waste Ban Economic Impact Analysis report, 2016. (Read here