The Province of Ontario has developed a Food and Organic Waste Framework, as a part of the larger Waste Free Ontario Strategy and the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan. This framework is a forward-thinking and positive strategy for dealing with organics and food waste.
Organics (such as food scraps and other compostables) are a valuable resource: through composting organics, their valuable nutrients are recycled to support healthy soils, and in some cases, create green energy and local green jobs.
The Food and Organic Waste Framework aims to reduce food waste, redistribute surplus food, compost organics and restore healthy soils.The Framework includes commitments by the government on what the Province of Ontario will do, and policy statements directing municipalities and all private businesses to take actions.
An overview of the Food and Organic Waste Framework:
The Framework states that the Government will:
- Coordinate with other departments and levels of government to reduce wasted food through education, food labelling and safety regulations
- Promote food rescue and food redistribution to prevent wasted food
- Ban the disposal of food and organic waste in landfill or incinerator
- Revise provincial regulations to require that businesses collect food scraps and organics for composting
- Improve the approvals process to help get more composting facilities up and running sooner, including small and mid-scale community composting
- Set up a data clearinghouse to improve data and reporting on food and organic waste
The Framework directs municipalities and business sector to:
- Require that all small and medium municipalities have organics collection for residents
- Require organics collection for multi-residential buildings (responsibility of the building owner if not currently served by the municipality)
- Requires that businesses and factories that collect organics and create food waste reduction plans
The draft Organics Framework was posted for public comment and input until January 2018. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change (MOECC) staff will review the comments, suggest changes and present a final Framework for MPPs to vote on in the next 3 months.
If it passes, the Framework will take a number of years to fully implement. The Government of Ontario will review a number of regulations and develop programs. Municipalities and business will need to start immediately preparing to collect organic waste. The Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) will continue to monitor the progress on this Framework to ensure that it moves quickly.
What the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) is doing
TEA was one of the only environmental organizations on the MOECC's Stakeholder Group that met approximately once-a-month for a year to give feedback and help develop the Framework. In January 2018, TEA and eight other national and Ontario-based environmental NGOs sent a joint letter to the MOECC outlining support for the Framework and identifying areas for improvement.
TEA also supported at least 5 other environmental groups to send in their own letters of support and reminded the MOECC that more than 600 Toronto and GTA residents sent letters in the fall and winter of 2017, urging the Province to take action to get organics out of the garbage.