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The Ontario Ministry of Environment has released plans for major changes in Ontario waste management. Toward a Zero Waste Future — a discussion paper for the Review of Ontario’s Waste Diversion Act 2002 proposes:
1)    A clear framework based on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which would:
a)     shift more financial responsibility for waste onto producers,
b)    allow producers flexibility to discharge that responsibility “in the way that best suits their   needs, has the fairest impact on existing markets and meets the public’s demand for successful diversion activities that   strive for zero waste and foster a green economy.”
c)     differentiate the fees placed on products based on their environmental profile (including energy efficiency, toxics reduction, greenhouse gas emissions etc.);
d)      prohibit “visible fees” paid directly by consumers; and
e)      impose stewardship fees on materials even if they are not currently recyclable.
2)    A greater focus on waste reduction and reuse, instead of recycling.
3)    More waste reduction and diversion by the industrial, commercial & institutional sectors.
4)    Better governance and administration of EPR programs — i.e., greater clarity around roles, responsibilities, and   accountabilities, to ensure that all players are contributing to a common goal.

The comment period ends on January 15, 2009.

Minister Gerretsen has also directed Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) to evaluate the existing Blue Box Program Plan, to help move it closer to Zero Waste and full EPR. Among other things, he wants recommendations on how to eliminate the 50% of Blue Box funding now paid by municipalities, and replace this with 100% producer funding. WDO’s report is due March 20, 2009.

PS, we have fixed the link to the Zero Waste paper, apologies for any inconvenience.

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