Tag Archives: Zero Waste Policy

Waste-Free Ontario Bill – the Devil in the Details

Ontario has a bold new plan to transform how we manage waste that encourages the development of products that are never discarded. Instead, they are reintroduced into a system to be reused, refurbished, recycled or reintegrated into new products-this is called the circular economy. This also provides business with the incentive to design innovative ways of turning what is considered a waste into a resource.

“Managing our resources more effectively will benefit Ontarians, our environment and economy and support our efforts to fight climate change.”

Glen R. Murray
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

In November 2015, the province of Ontario introduced the new Waste-free Ontario Act, the purpose of this new legislation is to divert more waste from landfills, create jobs, and help fight climate change. The province of Ontario also posted a draft Waste Free Ontario strategy for public and stakeholder feedback. The draft strategy is meant to be a roadmap for Ontario to transition to a province that produces zero waste and zero greenhouse gas pollution from waste.

Currently, the bill (151) status is second reading debate and the comment period for the Waste –free Ontario strategy ends on February 29 2016.

If passed, Bill 151, the proposed Waste-Free Ontario Act will enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act and the Waste Diversion Transition Act. The proposed legislation is intended to enable a shift to a circular economy that would increase resource recovery and waste reduction in Ontario.

Ontario will be following other governments including Scotland and the European Commission creating new policies that incorporate circular economy mandates with waste reduction and generation.

While the Waste-free Ontario strategy speaks of an action plan towards a “zero-waste future” there is in fact no definition of Zero Waste, certainly to achieve internationally recognized standards for Zero Waste, Zero Waste Canada recommends that both the internationally recognized definition of Zero Waste and the Zero Waste Hierarchy are used as guidelines.

The strategy is a plan to achieve two stated goals: a zero waste Ontario and zero greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector. The three objectives that are outlined in the draft strategy are:

  1. Increase Resource Productivity and Reduce Waste: Resource productivity is the process of using resources as effectively as possible in order to reduce or avoid waste. As increasing resource productivity is a new way of thinking in dealing with waste in Ontario, there is the need for a clear provincial direction and an agenda to support this objective. Ontario would use a variety of tools and actions to encourage Ontario producers’ to show leadership and innovation in resource productivity to prevent waste.
  2. Enable an Efficient and Effective Recycling System: Empowering producers with full responsibility for their products and packaging could bring about improved ways to recover, manage, recycle and reintegrate materials into the economy in a manner that reduces costs. Enhanced generator and service provider requirements could help produce clean waste streams, help direct more wastes to recycling and help extract maximum value from these streams.
  3. Create Conditions to Support Sustainable End-Markets: To make recycling economically viable, the government will need to emphasize the development of markets for recovered materials. This would require co-ordinated actions using multiple tools to capitalize on the economic opportunities associated with collection, transportation, processing and re-integration of resources into Ontario’s economy.

This new legislation holds promise but it will not just words but actions that will fulfill this new directive. There is a need for clear timeframes and goals, continuous review, involving all stakeholders including small business, existing repair, reuse, recycling and waste sector businesses, and an action plan for both short-term and long-term goals.

While in the draft stages until the questions of who, what, how, how much and why are answered, it is difficult to predict the impact this legislation could have on the economy and the environment.

As the saying goes” the devil is in the details”.

Zero Waste Canada feedback Waste- Free Ontario bill    logo-70px   Zero Waste Canada Ltd

Managing the World Resources: International and Local New Rules

Written by guest blogger Richard Anthony,

Richard Anthony is a founder and member of the Board of Directors of the California Resource Recovery Association, the Grassroots Recycling Network, and the Zero Waste International Alliance.  He is an internationally recognized and published expert in the area of Resource Management using the Zero Waste Systems approach. He has participated in developing Zero Waste plans since 1998. Mr. Anthony has worked on resource conservation and recovery plans for almost 40 years.

Managing the World Resources: International and Local Laws

It’s now time to internationally and locally adopt the Zero Waste Approach to Resource Management. The basis of this approach is documented in www.zwia.org, global and business principles.

Acting globally and locally we should insist on

  • No burn (incineration), no bury (landfill) projects and policies,
  • Local democracy for community decisions on discard rules for products and practices,
  • Product redesign for recycling or composting for community health and safety.


Zero Waste is a key to sustainability and with the Zero Waste Approach we can plan local level programs that provide jobs and resources for future populations. We can no longer allow pollution as an acceptable practice. Cost analysis, should show the true cost of products and packages and use a “cradle to cradle” (product, use and back to product) not “cradle to grave” (product, use, landfill/incinerator) analysis. Burning or burying discards should never be a design option (final use of a product or package).

When the World Resource Forum discusses a world scarcity of resources and the European Union discusses current targets; recovering all metal, burning no trees, and culture change: why are we arguing about waste vs. resource management? Even at the International Sustainability Conference (Rio+20) international reports at solid waste management sessions suggested that zero waste was the goal.

Let’s advocate globally and locally the Zero Waste approach to planning and turn local and national solid waste plans into zero waste prevention and recovery plans.

These should include

  1. Discard composition sorts into the 12 “master resource categories” to show markets and value and identify current market and facility voids (no local markets).
  2. Focus up-steam (before use at the purchasing level) on prevention (new rules in purchasing and new programs for preventing discards, reduce and reuse), using highest and best use as priorities (feeding people, then animals and then the soil).
  3. Redesign recovery programs to collect and process discards into marketable resources.
  4. Ban special discards designed for landfill and incineration.
  5. Develop policies, programs and needed facilities to attain a zero waste goal.

All data would be gathered around the 12 market categories. Stake holders meetings (reusers, recyclers, composters, environmental activists would be held by commodity (reuse, paper, metal, glass, plastic, compostable organics, wood etc.) to deal with supply and demand issues, spotlighting zero waste champions (Zero Waste Cities and Businesses) as case studies.


World and local goal should be Zero Waste by 2040


  • culture change (move from consumption to sustainable lifestyles)
  • close circle economy (cradle to cradle, recycling and composting as end uses)
  • decoupling (making the economic system local and sustainable)

Waste management plans regulate discard management without concern for resources and, waste and pollution emissions’ through landfill and incineration. A Zero Waste Plan focuses on community resources, jobs and economic sustainability.