Ontario’s Blue Box (CONT’D FROM PAGE 38)
Board Converting NEWS INTERNET DIRECTORY
pallets, as well as for paper, plastic, glass and metal? It doesn’t make sense. And who would do the collection? Municipalities? These wastes are best left to ‘industry’ to manage. Sure, existing regulations need to be tightened and broad- ened, and here again, disposal bans and higher landfill fees, would be useful. At the moment it’s far cheaper to dump stuff than to recycle it. Industry needs an economic incentive to do the right thing. Again, the province holds most of the cards here but has done little. False Claims Third, it would be remiss of me not to address some of the false claims being made about the relative contri- butions of residential and industrial waste. It is not true, for example, that “two-thirds of Ontario’s waste is gener- ated in the industrial, commercial and institutional (IC and I) sector.” In fact, the consumption blame is pretty evenly spread. According to Statistics Canada (2016 data), almost
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half (46 percent) of Ontario’s waste was generated by the residential sector, with 54 percent coming from industrial (or IC and I) sources. Industry may be doing a far poorer job of diverting this material from landfill (extensive data is lacking), but overall, it is not consuming a huge amount more than householders. And it is our collective excessive consumption habits that are causing the waste problem in the first place. Nor is it true that packaging is likely a major compo- nent of this industrial waste, as some critics have charged. Packaging represented only 13 percent of total solid waste according to Statistics Canada’s last national packaging survey way back in 1996. Over 70 percent of all pack- aging consumed in Canada was re-used or recycled, it found. And industry, not householders, was responsible for almost 75 percent of the packaging that was recycled. While there has certainly been an increase in residential recycling of packaging over the years, we seriously doubt that industry has stopped doing what it was doing before. Bring on some credible data!
September 21, 2020
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