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CIF Bulletin: Minister of the Environment Releases Draft Waste Reduction Act for 90-Day Comment Period

Today the Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley released the long-awaited draft Waste Reduction Act, 2013 for a 90-day public review and comment. The proposed Act would replace the existing Waste Diversion Act, 2002 and, if passed, would establish individual producer financial and environmental responsibility as a new approach to achieving waste diversion.

Proposed Waste Reduction Strategy Sets Out Blueprint

When he released the Act, the Minister also released a proposed Waste Reduction Strategy for public and stakeholder feedback that sets out a blueprint and timeline for how and when the proposed Act would be implemented.

Impact on Municipalities

The draft Act and strategy recognize the municipal role in waste diversion by:

  • removing the industry funding cap on the amount industry contributes to the cost of Blue Box recycling (consultation would take place to determine when and how increased producer funding would be required)
requiring producers to collect wastes from municipalities and pay appropriate municipal costs

Greater Accountability

The proposed Act and strategy also would:

  • make individual producers (formerly known as stewards) responsible and environmentally accountable for recycling the goods they sell at end-of-life
  • protect consumers from “surprise” eco-fees by regulating that recycling costs are included in the advertised price of a product and that if an embedded cost is shown, it must be displayed in a transparent and accurate manner
  • require the industrial, commercial and institutional sector to recycle, starting with paper and packaging and to meet established recycling targets
  • create a new Waste Reduction Authority with a clearly defined role and responsibilities
  • improve oversight and accountability of waste diversion by defining roles and responsibilities for individual producers, the provincial government and municipalities.

The draft Act would set waste diversion standards that producers would be required to meet. Producers would have new options to meet the required outcomes such as working collectively or on their own. It is expected that the new regulations would promote innovation in product and packaging design.

Creating a New Waste Reduction Authority

The draft Act would provide the new Waste Reduction Authority with enhanced oversight and producer compliance capabilities.

Review, Discuss, Provide Comment

The draft Act and strategy and several other pieces of information are available on the Environmental Bill of Right (EBR). Comments are invited, in writing, for 90 days with submissions due by September 4, 2013.