Ontario Unveils its Zero-Waste Strategy

Posted March 13, 2017

The Province of Ontario has taken a major step towards a zero-waste future with the launch of its new strategy for creating a circular economy.

The strategy, unveiled on March 1 by Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray, follows the passage in 2016 of the Waste Free Ontario Act, legislation aimed at diverting more waste from landfills, creating jobs and helping to fight climate change.

The Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy outlines a number of key measures designed to increase diversion:

  • Requiring the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors to divert more of their waste from landfill.
  • Improving oversight and accountability in waste management by requiring producers to register and report on their waste management activities.
  • Implementing a framework to reduce the volume of food and organic waste going to landfill.
  • Banning the disposal of certain materials, such as food waste, beverage containers, corrugated cardboard and fluorescent bulbs, and driving strategies for the reuse and recycling of these items.
graphic depicting the principles of the circular economy

Image courtesy of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

From the Minister’s statement:

“In order to fundamentally change the way we think about waste in Ontario, this strategy outlines the formative actions we will take in the coming years that will help us achieve our goals. It recognizes the tremendous environmental and economic opportunities that exist in shifting our mindset and embracing a circular economy — a system in which products are never discarded, but reused, recycled and reintroduced into new products.

“Coupled with Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan, this waste framework affords a viable opportunity to drive performance, innovation and competitiveness, and stimulate economic growth and development. It’s an exciting opportunity to create better products, reduce our reliance on extraction of virgin materials, and support our efforts to fight climate change.”