It’s Time for a Zero Waste Strategy in Ontario

The Liberal government’s failure to provide leadership on the issue of waste diversion has put our communities in a difficult position. Without a vision for waste diversion in Ontario, our municipalities do not have all the tools they need to fully tackle this pressing problem. Ontario can do better.

Media coverage this week on the failure of the province’s electronic waste program and an anti-incineration rally at Queen’s Park organized by residents of Durham have highlighted what a pressing issue this is for Ontario.

Waste is an issue that is far too important for our economy, our communities, and our health to neglect. For this reason, the Green Party believes it is time for Ontario to develop a comprehensive zero waste strategy now.

A zero waste future depends upon Extended Producer Responsibility legislation. Such legislation would incentivize businesses and entrepreneurs to build more sustainable products by factoring in the full costs of the products throughout their life cycle. The goal would be to have products built in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

As a result, municipal taxpayers and communities would not bear the economic, environmental and health costs of poorly designed and packaged products. Time, money and valuable resources would no longer be wasted on unnecessary garbage. Rather, producers would take ownership of durable products that could be used, repaired and passed on to future generations.

We only have to look at the successful example of the bottle return program at Brewer’s Retail to imagine what a zero waste program looks like. Ontarians have the creativity and business acumen do this.

It’s time for leadership on a comprehensive waste diversion strategy that puts Ontario on a path toward zero waste.