The province’s current waste diversion programs, under the current 2002 Waste Diversion Act, covers only 15% of Ontario’s waste stream and the waste diversion rate has remained at 25% for the past decade. As a result, the Government introduced Bill 151 and a Draft Strategy for a Waste Free Ontario.
The new bill includes two Acts, the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (RRCE) and the Waste Diversion and Transition Act (WDTA). The WDTA is a transitional phase effecting current recycling programs and it will begin in 2016. The proposed legislation will impact producers, retailers, suppliers, recycling service providers and municipalities across the value chain.
Responsibilities for Products and Packaging Stewards
- All current stewardship programs (e.g. Blue Box, Ontario Electronic Stewardship, Ontario Tire Stewardship) will be transitioned to an individual producer responsibility approach. Government would set the outcomes and requirements for existing and upcoming stewardship programs.
- Each material program will be governed by a new regulation. Regulations will identify additional designated materials including products, primary packaging, convenience packaging, transport packaging as well as the stewards who are responsible for each type of packaging.
- In the future companies will have the option to meet their outcomes and requirements individually or collectively. If collectives are formed, the liability will remain with the individual producer and cannot be passed onto another entity.
Compliance and Enforcement
Waste Diversion Ontario will be replaced by Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA). The RPRA will:
- Serve two key functions for implementing the WDTA which includes enforcement and compliance of the new regulation and managing a new data clearinghouse;
- Set recycling and waste diversion targets for products and packaging; which can require companies to increase materials reusability, recyclability, or the reduction or elimination of hazardous and toxic materials; and
- Enforce fees and penalties on stewards exhibiting poor performance.
- The Draft plan has been posted for a 90-day public review and comment period starting November 26, 2015. All comments/questions must be submitted February 24, 2016.
RSE can provide assistance to you or your industry association regarding any questions or comments you may have about the proposed legislation. Please contact us today.