New Ontario law to boost recycling, cut emissions, treat waste as resource

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Ontario today sends more than eight million tonnes of waste to landfill each year. Absolute greenhouse gas emissions from Ontario’s waste have risen by 25 per cent between 1990 and 2012 as the amount of waste disposed in landfills has increased. What this means is that currently, Ontario is producing too much waste, and not recycling enough.

Ontario passed legislation on Wednesday  that will divert more waste from landfills, create jobs and help fight climate change.

Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, said:  “Ontario is moving in an exciting new direction for managing waste in the province. The Waste-Free Ontario Act is an important step in creating Ontario’s circular economy — a system in which products are never discarded, but reintroduced and reused or recycled into new products. Managing our resources more effectively will benefit Ontarians, our environment and economy and support our efforts to fight climate change.”

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To help divert more waste from landfill, the Waste-Free Ontario Act will:

  • encourage innovation in recycling processes and require producers to take full responsibility for their products and packaging
  • lower recycling costs and give consumers access to more convenient recycling options
  • help fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas pollution that results from the landfilling of products that could otherwise be recycled or composted
  • overhaul Waste Diversion Ontario into the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority, a strong oversight body with new compliance and enforcement powers that will oversee the new approach and existing waste diversion programs until transition is complete.

The province will also be finalizing its draft Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy within three months of the legislation coming into effect. The strategy outlines Ontario’s vision for a zero waste future and proposed plan to implement the legislation.

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Harnessing the value of waste as a resource is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs.

  • 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.
  • Every year in Canada, an estimated $1 billion in valuable resources is lost to landfill.
  • Eventually the Waste-Free Ontario Act will eliminate industry funding organizations such as the Ontario Tire Stewardship and Ontario Electronic Stewardship.
  • The Blue Box program is available in about 95 per cent of Ontario households and keeps approximately 65 per cent of residential printed paper and packaging from landfills. – CINEWS
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