Op-Ed

Photo: Kim Wiens

Proposed bill cuts down on landfill waste, frees up government funds

The Waste-Free Ontario Act is an excellent step forward in dealing with a world that is increasingly seeing the effects of environmental degradation. The proposed law, currently under public consultation, would shift the cost of recycling products that currently go into the black or blue boxes onto the companies that make these goods. Instead of the costs for recycling bins being shared between cities and companies the entire amount would now be paid by those making the products.

Forcing companies to foot the bill is an excellent way to decrease the amount of waste being produced, since those who can control the amount of waste in their products are now the ones being affected by the environmental costs of it. By penalizing companies for producing large amounts of scrap material, companies have an incentive to reduce waste, and create more durable products.

Ontario currently adds eight million tonnes of waste to its landfills each and every year, and this new law can help keep products that don’t belong there out. 

Companies should be thinking about their entire product life span and focus on creating products that can be used over and over again. Many businesses already perform life-cycle analysis to examine how they can make their products more efficient to use and produce, which has led to SC Johnson changing how they make some of their products.

Businesses should be striving toward that level of efficiency and awareness, and there’s no reason that we can’t achieve that. With the wider recognition of the importance of recycling and current procedures to recycle we can expand those procedures to keep more of our waste out of landfills.

The new changes could also cut costs for the cash-strapped province.  Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray said the bill could save up to $115 million a year should it be passed.

So if the environmental aspect isn’t a good enough reason to support this law, then maybe increasing efficiency in allocation of government funds is. Whichever issue you believe to be a higher priority, one thing is clear—the Waste-Free Ontario Act is a necessary step for our government to take.