Waste Diversion Needs Support from All Political Parties

TORONTO, June 30, 2011 /CNW/ - The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) challenges all Ontario political parties to demonstrate how they will support waste diversion strategies that ensure that industry cleans up after itself, property taxpayers aren't left holding the tab for waste management costs, and fewer toxins are released into our environment.

"Municipal governments are interested in safe, responsible solutions that reduce waste and increase recycling, without tapping more into the wallets of property taxpayers," said AMO President Peter Hume.

Ontario faces some tough waste management challenges. Products today are more difficult to recycle or discard and some are toxic.  As well, Ontario is running out of space to bury its waste. Since 1989, 649 of Ontario's 730 landfills have closed. We ship 40% of our waste to the United States.

"There's no doubt that Ontario's stewardship programs need to do better, but they are better than the alternative," said Hume. "People have come to understand that while it's easier to toss everything into garbage in a bag and leave it at the curb, eventually it costs more - both in terms of dollars and human health."

Ontario currently has several waste diversion programs, which hold some manufacturers and industries responsible for the cost of disposing or diverting waste. These programs also encourage industry to make safer products and produce less garbage.

  • Household Hazardous Waste Program: Supports diversion and treatment of toxic products generated in Ontario households. Industry provided $40 million to municipalities for these programs last year.

  • Blue Box: Collects and recycles the vast majority of printed paper and packaging from Ontario households. Costs are shared 50/50 between industry and municipalities. 2010 gross costs were nearly $300 million.

  • Used Tires: Collects and recycles tires generated from all sectors in Ontario. Industry covers 100% of costs and last year diverted more than 160,000 tonnes from landfill.

  • Electronics: Collects and recycles waste electronics from Ontario households and businesses and is 100% industry funded. More than 34,500 tonnes of waste was diverted from landfill in the program's second year, double the amount from the previous year, demonstrating positive growth for a brand-new program.

Any changes to these waste diversion programs should be matched by well-thought out alternatives that meet goals such as sending less waste to landfills and incinerators, holding waste producers accountable for the costs that they create, and ensuring that property taxes are not being used to let industry off the hook. Currently, property taxes already pay for 50 per cent of the Blue Box program, subsidize Household Hazardous Waste programs and pay for all garbage collection and disposal of waste at landfill or incinerators.

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario's 444 municipal governments.  AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada's political system.

More information about Ontario's growing waste management challenges is available at www.amo.on.ca.

SOURCE Association of Municipalities of Ontario

For further information:

Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact
Phone: 416-729-5425
Email: lambie@redbrick.ca


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