Earlier this summer, HaltonRecycles wrote about the new waste management legislation introduced to the Ontario Legislature on June 6, 2013: Bill 91, the Waste Reduction Act and Waste Reduction Strategy. The proposed Act will help to establish a new system for the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste and will replace the current Waste Diversion Act (WDA), established in 2002.
The WDA regulates that producers, manufacturers and retailers are to partially or fully establish or fund waste management programs for their products sold in Ontario. As a result, municipalities receive funding from these producers and manufacturers for the programs designated under the WDA. These programs include the Blue Box, electronics, tires and some household hazardous waste.
Producer responsibility should result in the following outcomes:
- prevent waste generation
- reduce use of toxic materials
- increase recycling
- enhance markets for recycling materials.
Many stakeholders, including municipalities, had been encouraging the Province to review the WDA and come forward with changes to address key operational issues with the current Act.
Bill 91 is intended to bring important changes:
- An improved system of transferring the cost of waste diversion to individual producers of designated products and packaging, and not on the tax payers
- It will establish a Waste Reduction Authority with the ability to enforce compliance with the Act
- The role of municipalities as waste diversion service providers is recognized and reasonable costs are to be compensated
- Greater emphasis will be placed on increasing industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) diversion rates
- There will be an opportunity to identify new and different materials for producer responsibility
- Retailers will not be able to charge a separate “eco fee” at the point of sale
To assist with the transition from the Waste Diversion Act to the Waste Reduction Act, a Waste Reduction Strategy (WRS) has been proposed. The WRS identifies how and when the transition would occur.
Waste Reduction Act Consultation
The proposed Act and Strategy were placed on the Environmental Bill of Rights for a 90 day comment period which closed on September 4, 2013. Halton Region staff participated in several sessions during that time and submitted comments in a joint submission of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario, and Municipal Waste Association as well as individually as Halton Region staff.
Halton’s submission contained the following key recommendations:
- Halton has a vested interest and role in delivering successful waste diversion programs to conserve the lifespan of the landfill at the Halton Waste Management Site
- Halton Region has implemented a Solid Waste Management Strategy that is periodically reviewed and updated with a current waste diversion goal of 65%
- Halton places a priority on delivering cost effective programs and should receive fair and reasonable compensation that is determined in a transparent and effective process
- Payment to municipalities needs to be a simple process
- The Authority will require adequate resources to effectively deliver its mandate
- Standards and targets must be established for recycling material capture, processing, geographic distribution of collection services, convenient access to recycling services, and promotion and education.
Bill 91 had a second reading on September 24 and is currently under Debate in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Halton Region will continue to work with the Province, municipal associations and producers to support the implementation of the proposed Act and Strategy that corresponds with Halton’s environmental, service delivery and economic goals.