By Nick Turenne
"Ontario generates nearly a tonne of waste per person each year"
Ontario has a waste problem. According to a recent report on reducing litter and waste by the province’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks, “Ontario generates nearly a tonne of waste per person each year”1. That’s about 133 bags per person! Not only that, “our overall diversion rate has stalled at 30 per cent over the past 15 years”2, meaning that 70 per cent of the waste we produce ends up in landfills.
Oh, and we’re running out of landfills too...based on our current trajectory, existing landfills are set to “run out of capacity within 14 years or less”3. While the Blue Box and green bin programs have certainly made strides in helping Ontarians reduce and divert waste, more needs to be done to curb the unsustainable amount of waste being produced in Ontario each year.
Make your Voice Heard
So, how can citizens, businesses, and government work together to find sustainable solutions?
That’s exactly what the province wants to know. A recent discussion paper by the Ontario government titled “Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities” is calling on Ontarians to provide feedback on how the province can move forward to:
- Decrease the amount of waste going to landfill
- Increase the province's overall diversion rate
What is Proposed?
The government has outlined eight areas of action:
- Prevent and reduce litter in neighbourhoods and parks
- Increase opportunities for Ontarians to reduce and divert waste at home, at work and on-the-go
- Make producers responsible for the waste generated from their products and packaging
- Reduce and divert food and organic waste from households and businesses
- Reduce plastic waste going into landfills and waterways
- Provide clear rules for compostables
- Recover the value of resources in waste
- Support competitive and sustainable end-markets for Ontario's waste
These eight areas of action will shape future waste management policy in Ontario.
What Can I Do About It?
Submit feedback to the government.
You can submit your feedback directly to the province here! Let the province know how you think they can make it easier for you to reduce and divert waste. Voice your concerns about existing programs and let them know your thoughts on waste produced by businesses and institutions outside your control. After all, they’re here to serve YOU.
Tell us what you think!
Not sure what to submit to the province? Complete our brief survey which will be submitted to the Ontario Government on April 19th, 2019. We want to ensure your voice is heard!
Act Small, Think Big.
Small actions have big impact. Consider swapping some of your household items with waste reducing alternatives like reusable straws, produce bags, food wrap, and water bottles! Home appliances such as SodaStream also help to reduce waste. Each SodaStream owner diverts roughly 550 bottles per year from landfills.
Consider using refillable products such as terra20’s ecobar. The ecobar is a refill station for non-toxic household cleaning and personal care products. Each refill is another bottle diverted from landfills. In fact, terra20 customers have diverted over 22,000 bottles from landfills by using the ecobar!
Again, small actions collectively have a big impact. It’s time to have an honest conversation about how we can tackle waste reduction together.
1. Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks, Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper, p.4
2. Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks, Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper, p.4
3. Rossi, Rocco. “Ontario Must Face Up to Its Looming Waste Crisis”. Toronto Star, March, 2019
About the Author
Nick Turenne is the Marketing Manager at terra20. When he isn't spreading the word about health and sustainability, he's probably cooking vegan food, running, or playing with his big fluffy dog.