Globally, food waste represents more greenhouse gas emissions than any country in the world except for China and the United States. In Ontario, 3.6 million tonnes of food and organic waste is generated annually and more than 60 per cent of it is lost to disposal.
The Government of Ontario's Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy commits the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to a Food and Organic Waste Action Plan, which may include banning of food waste from disposal. The strategy also proposes that the first policy statement under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 focus on food and organic waste.
As a result, the discussion paper Addressing Food and Organic Waste in Ontario (PDF) serves as the basis for preliminary discussions with stakeholders to inform the development of the Food and Organic Waste Framework, which aims to:
- Reduce the amount of food that becomes waste
- Remove food and organic waste from the disposal stream
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from food and organic waste
- Support and stimulate end markets that recover the value from food and organic wastes
- Increase accountability of responsible parties
- Improve data on food and organic waste
- Enhance promotion and education regarding food and organic waste
The discussion paper is posted for a 60-day public review and comment period starting May 31, 2017. All comments received prior to July 30, 2017 will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry if they are submitted in writing or electronically.
The development of both the action plan and policy statement will also be informed by a stakeholder working group concurrently. The Ministry has invited representatives from key stakeholder groups including municipalities, the waste management industry, producers, non-governmental organizations, the agri-food industry (e.g. farmers, food processors) and generators of organic waste in the IC&I sectors (e.g., food retailers, restaurants, offices, hospitals) to participate in this process.
The discussion paper posted as part of this proposal is intended to offer an opportunity for the public and stakeholders to provide comments towards the development of the Food and Organic Waste Framework. The Ministry expects that further public consultations will occur once the draft policy statement and action plan are released.
RCO intends to review the operating agreement in depth and provide comment to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change within the prescribed time period.
Members that wish to discuss Ontario's food waste strategy and RCO's response are encouraged to contact us.