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CIF Bulletin: Recent Developments in Ontario Recycling

Recycling is a hot topic in Ontario today with a recent statement by the Progressive Conservative Environment Critic, a roundtable hosted by the Environmental Commissioner, EPR programs in development in other provinces and an upcoming stakeholder engagement workshop planned by WDO for Friday, December 7.

The CIF is monitoring the potential impacts of these and other items on Ontario recycling programs and will keep you informed as new information is available. As always, our goal is to help you understand how these policy decisions can potentially impact your programs and assist you in making informed business decisions. The following is a brief update on current issues.

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario's Roundtable on Extended Producer Responsibility

A group of 30 stakeholders met with the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) on November 22 to discuss Environmental Product Stewardship (EPR) as a means of defining principles for future discussions on the topic. The group included municipal representatives, stewards, processors, retailers, industry funding organization reps, WDO, MPPs and staff and MOE observers.

The ECO has released a summary report as a result of the meeting, which we encourage all readers to review. A few items of note:

  • There was strong agreement that EPR is an effective means to achieve waste policy goals
  • Elements of the Waste Diversion Act (2002) are considered inadequate in creating the desired EPR framework
  • Performance measurement is essential with key performance indicators to be developed by all relevant stakeholders; there was no consensus on which stakeholders are most important and particularly, the role of municipalities.

The paper also identifies a clear role for enforcement, all of which is worth your attention. View the report: Summary Report

December 7: WDO Stakeholder Engagement Consultation

The WDO has released a discussion paper on how best to engage with stakeholders toward developing a stakeholder engagement plan for 2013. WDO is seeking input on the paper and as one of many means of providing input, is hosting an open workshop on December 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Toronto. Stakeholder engagement has been a concern for many municipalities so we encourage you to review the Discussion Paper and provide comment in the way that suits you best.

View the Stakeholder Discussion Paper

PC Environment Critic's Call for Reform of Hazardous Waste and Electronics Recycling Policies

Last week's announcement from the PC Environment Critic (Michael Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga) called for the Minister of the Environment to eliminate Waste Diversion Ontario, Stewardship Ontario and Ontario Electronic Stewardship, and to bring management of waste diversion programs for MHSW and electronics under direct MOE control.

The release advocates replacing the existing system with an individual producer responsibility (IPR) scheme in which stewards would act independently or collectively to achieve government targets. According to the press release "the Ministry of the Environment would simply set measureable, achievable waste diversion targets and let the private sector work".

Neither the release nor the MPP's letter to the Minister of the Environment address Blue Box recycling directly and since the story broke there has been little follow-up. We will continue to monitor and provide updates as needed.

View the press releases from Michael Harris, MPP Kitchener-Conestoga from November 21 and November 27

Taking Note of Ontario Blue Box Recycling

The work undertaken by municipalities through funding provided by the CIF is at the forefront of important developments in waste diversion and program management and internationally, others are beginning to take notice. Earlier this month we had observers from as far away as British Columbia taking part in the Ontario Recycler Workshop in recognition that there is much to learn from the great strides being undertaken each and every day in your programs. Most people aren't aware that the CIF's website is routinely visited by viewers from around the world and CIF staff are often consulted by our European counterparts on issues of common concern, such as mixed plastics recycling.

Earlier this fall, Mike Birett spoke at conferences in the United States and in Ottawa on the efforts of Ontario municipalities to reduce costs and improve the capture of materials for diversion. More recently, CIF projects have begun to be profiled at conferences and in industry magazines.

The October-November issue of Solid Waste and Recycling magazine features McKellar Township's (CIF Project #280) efforts to reduce transfer costs by installing and operationalizing two solar compactors, and the positive impact of this equipment on program costs. The December issue will feature a project completed recently by the Town of the Blue Mountains.

The CIF is pleased to be a part of the efforts of our program partners and proud to share your successes with others in the industry.

Click to view: Solid Waste and Recycling Magazine (see page 42)

MPAC Landfill Tax Valuations To Continue in 2013

Municipalities operating landfills should be aware that Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has been reviewing its landfill valuation methodology through 2012 and plans to consult with key industry groups in 2013 to finalize plans for changes to landfill tax assessment. These changes could have significant negative financial impacts on all Ontario landfills and we will keep you informed as to how best to be involved.