The Province sets the rules and policies for how waste is handled in Ontario. The Province defines different types of waste, how each type of waste is handled, where it can be processed, recycled or composted. The Provincial regulations outline how municipalities, businesses, manufacturers and others deal with waste - including siting of landfills, recycling facilities and incinerators.
Unfortunately, Ontario's waste regulations haven't been good enough.
While Ontario made a start with good Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs in 2002, things stalled. Too much waste ending up in landfill, cash-strapped cities grappling with filling landfills, and an embarrassingly low recycling rate for non-residential waste!
Ontario's new approach - Waste Free Ontario Act.
In June 2016, the Ontario legislature passed the new Waste Free Ontario Act. TEA spent the last few years attending stakeholder meetings and has been meeting with the Ministry, environmental NGOs and those in the waste and recycling industry to help shape this strategy and push for policies that put the environment first.
This new Act dramatically shifts how waste can be dealt with Ontario. If it's implemented well, it will shift the full cost of waste management to those with the most control: the producers and manufacturers who design and choose what packaging and materials they sell. The Minister will have the power to place outright bans on materials, and pass regulations for better reporting, requirements for recycled content and reduced toxins.
The legislation has passed, and now the Government is drafting regulations - TEA will monitor the process closely and continue to advocate for the strongest environmental standards. Read our comments on the draft Act and Strategy in these posts.
TEA has worked with a coalition of environmental and health NGOs to advocate for good waste policy in Ontario for a number of years. See an archive of our past letters on various waste policies and programs to the Province here.