Province considers ban on organic waste in landfills, stops short of recommending ban on single-use plastics

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Last week Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Rod Phillips released a discussion paper about reducing waste and litter which includes sections on making producers responsible for waste, diverting food and organic waste, reducing plastic waste going into landfills and providing clear rules for compostables, according to a media release from Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller’s office

“I am pleased to see our government focused on waste reduction and diversion,” said Miller. “It is shocking that we still only manage to recycle or otherwise divert 30 per cent of our waste from landfill.”

The discussion paper notes that Ontario’s waste diversion rate has stalled at 30 per cent for the past 15 years, with 70 per cent of waste still going to a landfill. Sixty per cent of food and organic waste is still sent to landfills where “it breaks down to create methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), and contributes to climate change.”

The paper also addresses plastic waste and states, “We know that other jurisdictions have implemented a ban on single-use plastics to prevent plastic waste,” but stops short of recommending that move for Ontario, instead asking readers of the paper “Would a ban on single-use plastics be effective in reducing plastic waste?”

Related story: Local restaurants go straw-free to help reduce plastic waste

“We know that Ontarians want to do their part to reduce litter and waste, whether at home, at work or on the go,” said Phillips. “There are so many great ideas out there in the province that we want to build on to reduce waste, divert more of it away from landfills and get our diversion rate moving in the right direction again.”

Miller has, in the past, introduced a number of waste-reduction-related Private Member’s Bills including ones on compostable coffee pods, producer responsibility, and deposit return systems for liquor bottles and batteries.

The discussion paper can be viewed and commented on at the Environmental Registry here until April 20, 2019.

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7 Comments

  1. What is being done about the weekly tons of paper coffee cup waste that cannot be
    recycled and ends up in our landfills? Should the coffee chains not be held accountable?

    • Matthew Tynan on

      Great question. I would agree.

      I run an independent coffee shop in Huntsville where all our cups (and lids) are made of paper based products. It’s more expensive to purchase these products, but I feel the health benefits to my customers, the environment and the community, far outweigh those costs.

      One multi national company disguised as ‘Canadian Made,’ needs to be made responsible for the litter that ultimately ends up in our water ways, streets and landfills.

      Question is, How.

      What will it take to demonstrate to our community, that these massive coffee chains are ruining our environment via litter in our streets and are adding substantial cost to our waste management systems.

      How can they be made accountable?

      I say, we need to educate the general public. Help our wonderful community of Huntsville and all of Muskoka for that matter, understand that this ‘single use’ waste is not the way forward.

      I propose an advertisement campaign, via more photographic signage.

      Interested to hear what others have to say on the matter.

  2. Every event in Huntsville must have water filling stations so we don’t have single use water bottles, and paper recycling containers. The ALC should have dishes and cutlery so single use items aren’t brought in for events either. While in Baysville this week for the Winter Games we served the meals on REAL dishes and the players noticed and appreciated this. We brought any plastic home with us for recycling . This included only 4 water bottles brought by players which was wonderful. We must do better.

  3. Most of the plastic in recyclable containers is shipped to Korea; who get paid to burn it; or it ends up in our oceans (especially the single-use water bottles). Water bottles must either be banned; or constructed from a truly recyclable material. And why aren’t home composters available for free, or at reduced prices from either the Town; or more realistically from the District? With all our granite excess, we could certainly use free topsoil for our gardens.

  4. Would like to say thanks to some of our restaurants that are using paper take home containers, now if only our food stores would do a better job of less plastic packaging and .25 cents for each plastic bag you carry home. Folks might then remember to bring the cloth ones from the car or purchase some.

  5. Well, lets see here. It is the government that has allowed the plethora of single use plastic packaging to be placed as a burden onto “somebody else” other than the producers and buyers of this stuff.

    That government could very easily have mandated deposits and standardized the containers into a much smaller range of sizes, similar to the old “beer bottles” (remember the stubbier?). Did they do any of this? NO! nothing at all.
    Now they come along on their white stallion with shining armor and probably some kind of spear and tell us that this is a problem. (like anyone did not already know this)

    Somehow the next step is also straight from a government play book. Toss the blame out there and let someone else pick up the challenge of figuring out what to do. Thanks, once again.

    The bottom line is that this issue is entirely of the governments making and they need to step up and take charge of the situation, right from the start of the chain. Don’t come along now and take the last step, that of us hauling the stuff to the transfer station, and say we can’t do this any more. The powers that be may hove noticed (or not) that we have precious few other options than to haul the stuff to that bin at the transfer station.

    One option that I see exercised very much in many more tropical, carefree southern holiday destinations (Roatan, Belize, Mexico and most others ) is to just toss this trash on the roadside and walk on by. A very effective method of handling the problem, right up there with “dump it in the nearest river or ocean” that is used also by many countries.
    I don’t think any of us want to use this option so maybe it is more incumbent on our government to actually figure out a way to handle this waste stream, either by quenching it at the source or providing a good and simple method of collection and recycle at the end. It is rightly their job to come up with a plan that actually works as they are the only part of this issue that has any real control and vision of the entire process.

    Just something to think about.

  6. Matthew Tynan on

    Any movement against ‘single use’ plastic must first come from the people.
    We vote in politicians and we vote them out.

    Education is key.
    We as a community, must recognize that plastic in our environment is a major problem.
    It needs to be made into an issue, one that local politicians must discuss.

    Possible minor disruptive protest:
    50 customers unwrap all plastic goods purchased from a grocery store at the checkout.
    Inconveniencing: the grocery store and other customers of the store.
    Capture it on social media.

    What does this achieve?
    Awareness for one.
    The amount of plastic left behind is a mini mountain, left right there at the check out counter.

    Similar ‘single use’ plastic demonstrations have occurred all over the world.

    Some ‘smart’ grocery chains here in Huntsville have listened to their customers and have opted to supply:
    -Cardboard boxes at check out
    -The option of Free paper bags or pay 5cents per plastic bag

    Can anyone guess which Huntsville grocery stores do this?

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