» Knowledge Sessions: Ontario's Waste Strategy
Knowledge Sessions: Ontario's Waste Strategy
A showcase series to support performance improvement in waste reduction
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015
9 a.m. - noon
Ontario's Waste Strategy
As part of its ongoing commitment to the environment, the Government of Ontario is looking to improve waste reduction by revamping legislation supported by a long-term strategy that includes a full regulatory review including a introduction of regulated and voluntary measures. What will the new strategy include? What will be the new priorities moving forward? How will generators be affected?
Engaging the Institutional, Commercial, and Industrial (IC&I) sector and policy makers, Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, RCO, presented an overview of the most pressing issues related to IC&I generated waste in Ontario. Following Ms. St. Godard, John Armiento from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) shared elements of a proposed provincial waste strategy, and a diverse panel of experts from commercial and institutional industries offered their views on RCO and MOECC positions while explaining the diversity of challenges they face in their operations.
Panellists found common challenges to waste diversion; namely, the need to educate stakeholders, regional differences in terms of regulatory requirements, and market availability for material recycling. A significant issue at the heart of waste diversion challenge is low disposal fees. While most companies want to “do the right thing” and reduce their environmental footprint by recycling as much as possible, it is more expensive than sending materials for disposal.
Jake Westerhof (standing) shares his operations perspective the challenges of waste reduction. Seated from left: Jo-Anne St. Godard, Recycling Council of Ontario; Christine Bome, Walmart Canada; Jordan Lefler, EllisDon; Ed Rubenstein, UHN; J.J. Arsenault, ARAMARK.
Food waste was the topic most discussed. Audience members posed several questions concerning food waste reduction in retail environments and prepared food in cafeterias. Educating consumers regarding ‘best before’ labelling, reducing the price of soon to expire goods, and donating fresh food were identified as solutions. In addition, greater efficiency of bulk food purchase for prepared meal services was mentioned as a helpful tactic to save costs and reduce wastage.
Packing solutions may also be implemented for specific perishable food items such as individual wrapping of peppers to provide for a longer shelf life. By calculating the greenhouse gas emissions footprint of the packaging versus food waste, a company can determine the most responsible environmental choice.
Source separation and contamination of recyclables was another topic discussed. For some in the IC&I sector, co-mingled recycling (single stream) enables greater capture of materials, however, increases risk for contamination. The rate of contamination becomes negligible depending on the technology at the material recovery facility (MRF). Construction and demolition materials however, maintain the highest commodity value separated.
Commodity value for recyclables and available markets is also a determining factor in the rate of diversion. Most urban areas have nearby MRFs and processing plants or brokers that can find an overseas market for a specific material. The distance from community to market outside of major urban areas makes it difficult to have a successful recycling program in place. Recycling infrastructure is therefore key to ensure diversion increases in the province as a whole.
||J.J. Arsenault is Director of Operations, Facility Services for ARAMARK, which offers customer service business across food, facilities, and uniforms globally. With eighteen years of experience in Facility Management, Mr. Arsenault has been recognized for a variety of environmental initiatives, including sharps drop off programs, recycling initiatives, and the prestigious Jeff Hart Memorial Award for Health and Safety.
||Christine Bome has managed government affairs for Walmart Canada since 2007 and oversees the organization’s relationships with several regulators and stakeholders. Before joining Walmart, Ms. Bome served as Chief of Staff in Community and Social Services for the Government of Ontario. Her interest in government affairs has also seen her serve as a long-standing campaign manager for the Liberal Party of Ontario and as a Director in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
||Jorden Lefler is an Assistant Project Manager in the Sustainable Building Services Department at EllisDon. He is currently the Chair for the Industry Advisory Panel for Fleming College's Sustainable Design and Construction Program, as well as a member of the Environmental Committee for the Toronto Construction Association. Mr. Lefler has also worked for some notable design firms such as WZMH Architects and Forrec LTD. where he has designed complex and unique projects.
||Leading University Health Network (UHN) environment programs since 1999, Ed Rubinstein has helped UHN become a leader in greening health care. Its green programs have been awarded several distinctions, including from the Ontario Hospital Association, Natural Resources Canada, Practice Greenhealth, and the Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment.
||Jake Westerhof has 30 years of unique public and private sector experience in waste management focusing exclusively on recycling strategies. He specializes in Material Recycling Facility (MRF) design and plant operations, having successfully directed the development of seven MRFs since 2005. He joined Canada Fibers in 1996 where he has held various positions, and is currently Vice-President of Operations and responsible for all aspects of the five recycling facilities that Canada Fibers operate in Ontario.
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