Ontario industry to pay for hazardous waste management
Under the new industry-operated Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) program in Ontario, companies that make and market consumer products such as paint, solvents, oil filters, single use batteries, antifreeze, propane tanks, fertilizers and pesticides, will help ensure left over materials are managed in an environmentally appropriate manner once consumers no longer need or want them. The program began July 1. “The obligated companies, called stewards, will cover the cost of reusing, recycling, and if necessary, the safe disposal of the left over waste,” said Sandra Banks, chair of Stewardship Ontario, the organization that oversees Ontario industry’s role in the Blue Box program, and now in this new municipal hazardous or special waste program. Companies will pay fees to Stewardship Ontario based on the amount and type of municipal hazardous or special waste materials they introduce into the Ontario market. Stewardship Ontario will then use the funds to pay for the program. “Our industry stewards take their environmental responsibilities seriously,” said Joyce Barretto, Stewardship Ontario’s CEO. “They want to do their part to ensure their products are managed in an environmentally responsible manner and they want to help to put the systems in place so their customers, their employees and all Ontarians can do so as well.” Existing programs for these waste materials collect about 16,000 tonnes annually. This new MHSW program aims to divert more than 33,000 tonnes of these materials from landfill in five years. Stewardship Ontario’s program calls for an increase in the number of collection event days for taking unwanted MHSW materials to drop-off locations. Most collection events will continue to be run by municipalities in partnership with Stewardship Ontario, and there are plans to organize additional collection events in communities that are currently under-serviced. In addition, Stewardship Ontario will enter into agreements with other willing organizations to become collection locations for products such as left over paint, solvents, used oil filters, automotive antifreeze and used single-use batteries. Stewardship Ontario is also developing a new interactive website that will provide a list of the closest locations where people can take left over consumer municipal hazardous or special waste. The site using the program slogan, “Do What You Can,” will begin with a list of existing municipal MHSW events and depots and will be expanded to include other organizations as they join the program. The site can be accessed at www.dowhatyoucan.ca. Under the new program, industry will pay for about 80 percent of the total program cost while municipalities will cover the balance. The cost in year one is expected to be $28 million.