Draft Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Summary of Proposal:
Waste diversion in Ontario has stalled around 25 percent over the last decade. While most of the success is coming from the residential sector, where 47 percent of household waste is diverted from landfill, the diversion rate for the rest of the economy is much lower.

Existing waste diversion programs established under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 cover only 15 percent of Ontario's waste stream and no new programs have been established under this Act since 2009.

Failure to take action has economic and environmental consequences, including the loss of valuable resources, the lost opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the dwindling capacity of Ontario's landfills and the increasing pressure on municipal taxpayers and industries to fund diversion efforts and rising costs.

Ontario's draft Strategy recognizes that the current "produce-use-dispose" model is not sustainable. The Strategy, when implemented would move Ontario toward a circular economy - a system where nothing is wasted and valuable materials destined for landfill are put back into the economy without negative effects on the environment. This approach will reduce greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change, save scarce resources, create jobs and capitalize on financial opportunities.

The draft Strategy embraces a vision of "an Ontario where we have zero waste and zero greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector and where all resources, organic or non-organic, are used and reused productively, maximizing their recovery and reintegrating recovered materials back into the economy."

Ontario's vision would be fulfilled with the draft Strategy's two goals: a zero waste Ontario and zero greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector.

Three objectives are outlined in the draft Strategy and critical to achieving these goals.
1. Increase Resource Productivity and Reduce Waste
2. Enable an Efficient and Effective Recycling System
3. Create Conditions to Support Sustainable End-Markets

The draft Strategy includes actions that would:
• Establish provincial direction by providing clear direction to reach desired outcomes.
• Expand producer responsibility in Ontario by placing full responsibility on those who produce waste; empowering the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority; and ensuring a smooth transition of provincial diversion programs to full producer responsibility system.
• Divert more waste from disposal by
o collecting data and putting performance measures in place to enable to province to make evidence-based decisions and measure progress towards zero waste;
o targeting areas for greater diversion by designating new materials, enhancing generator requirements and developing and implementing an Organics Action Plan to reduce the volume of organics going into landfills;
o using disposal bans to facilitate resource recovery and waste reduction;
o minimizing the need for landfills and ensure existing landfills are well managed;and
o integrating multiple tools to foster collaboration allowing parties to work together to deliver a seamless system.
• Helping people reduce, reuse and recycle by increasing awareness of and participation in diversion activities through education and promotion.
• Stimulating markets for recovered materials by implementing modern environmental standards; and demonstrating provincial leadership through green procurement.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
November 26, 2015
Comments Due Date:
February 29, 2016