New Waste Free Ontario Act - a great start

Just before leaving for the climate change conference in Paris, Minister of the Environment & Climate Change, Glen Murray, tabled a new draft waste strategy for Ontario. We're impressed by what we've seen so far.

TEA has been participating in stakeholder meetings to develop the strategy, and we've got a few changes we'd like to see, but overall, we can say this is a big, welcome step in the right direction for Ontario.

The Waste-Free Ontario Act and Strategy outlines a vision for zero waste and wide-reaching changes across the economy, and producer responsibility. 


The strategy talks about shifting how Ontario uses and thinks about resources to cut pollution, cut greenhouse gases, and conserve resources. The goal is to help Ontario's economy from a Take-Make-Waste linear model that just uses resources once and wastes them, to a Circular Economy, where waste is eliminated. Discarded materials from one group becomes the resource for another.

Some of the key points that we're happy to see:

  • A commitment to Zero Waste & the 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
  • Producer Responsibility - making the companies that design, produce and sell products and packaging responsible for the recycling and disposal of what they sell. This will drive innovation and competition to improve recycling and resource efficiency. 
  • An Organics strategy - essential as organic waste makes up 40-50% of residential the waste stream!
  • Provincial direction - using Provincial policy statements to bring circular economy thinking into all areas, not just the waste sector (e.g. Procurement policies). 

Some of the key things we'll be pushing to improve:

  • 3Rs targets need to be very high and strictly enforced to drive real change
  • Producers need to be responsible for all of their waste - including the disposal costs and from all sectors (not just residential waste). 
  • Zero waste needs to mean zero waste - we need to be sure it isn't distorted to promote disposal by incineration 
  • There needs to be strict accountability and transparency - we have concerns about how rules may be enforced

Next steps:

The Province is receiving comments until February 24th.

Public information sessions are being held in January (12, 14 & 19th in Toronto). 

TEA will be meeting with other environmental NGOs, industry organizations, and the Ministry to identify concerns and our recommendations on the best way forward. We will have more detailed comments and criticism in the coming weeks and months. 

Read more on Ontario's website: