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Confusion over eco-fees shows need for new waste reduction policy in Ontario

Date July 2, 2015 Author Jason Smith Categories RCO in the News

On July 1, 2010 Ontario consumers reacted negatively to the introduction and application of recycling costs or eco-fees on hazardous household products. These eco-fees were based on costs obligated by the Government of Ontario onto producers and sellers of these products, which were then transferred by producers onto consumers as an eco-fee applied at point-of-sale.

As a result of the consumer confusion and outrage, the government cancelled the obligated fee on producers and created a provincial fund to cover the costs for municipalities that collected and responsibly managed the waste products.

The fund ran from fall 2010 to October 2014, from which time municipalities have paid these management costs.

On June 30, the five-year anniversary of the eco-fee, CTV Toronto covered the issue and Recycling Council of Ontario provided comment. Although CTV does not outline the actual timeframes of producer and government funding cancellations; it does accurately point out that municipalities are now picking up costs for some hazardous products, and consumers continue to pay eco-fees on tires and electronics.

The Government of Ontario has been working on new legislation to address the shortcomings of current waste policies, including the Waste Diversion Act that has been in effect since 2002. In that time, Ontario's overall waste reduction efforts have not shown meaningful improvement, and it is imperative that the province takes new measures to encourage better results.

Source: Statistics Canada, released June 2015

RCO has been advocating for new waste reduction policy with improved and expanded producer responsibility as it believes manufacturers and brand owners should be responsible for the proper recycling of products sold into Ontario.

What RCO believes should be in new legislation:

  • A disposal levy to every tonne of garbage, such as Manitoba ($10/tonne) and Quebec ($21/tonne).

  • Ban materials from disposal that are potentially toxic and have existing recycling options..

  • Increase requirements for businesses and industries to reduce the waste they generate, and collect more for recycling.

  • Expand the requirements on companies that sell goods into Ontario to ensure they are collected for proper recycling.

Benefits of improvement:

  • GHG reduction: landfills are responsible for almost 90% of methane gas emissions, which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a GHG)

  • Creates seven green jobs for every 1,000 tonnes of waste recycled.

  • Reduces reliance on nonrenewable natural resources.

  • Reintegrates and reutilizes resources that are in discarded materials into the manufacturing of new goods.

  • Eliminates all forms of disposal.

RCO will continue to work the Government of Ontario to enact effective legislation that recognizes the resources in waste and drives markets to support sustainable change. We encourage RCO members to provide their comments to us and will keep members apprised of further developments as they happen.


Jo-Anne St. Godard
Executive Director Recycling Council of Ontario
416.657.2797, ext. 1






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