Recycling bin and litter binEvery day, Ontario generates more than 33,000 tonnes of waste – more than 900 kilograms per person each year. This is a problem. Sending waste materials to disposal fills up landfills (which can leak contaminants), and typically uses more energy, resources and new materials than reuse or recycling. Moreover, hazardous wastes, which are primarily generated by industrial and manufacturing processes, need special handling to minimize their effects on the environment and human health.

In Ontario, waste-related issues are chiefly regulated by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) under the Environmental Protection Act, the Environmental Assessment Act and the Waste Diversion Act (WDA). In June 2016, however, the government passed Bill 151, the Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016, which will enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act and the Waste Diversion Transition Act and replace the WDA. Rules around the siting of waste management systems are found in the Provincial Policy Statement under the Planning Act, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Success under the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR)
  • Ontarians submitted more than 100 comments through the Environmental Registry on a draft Waste Reduction Strategy, helping inform the MOECC’s development of a proposed Waste-Free Ontario Act and a draft Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario.
  • An Application for Review prompted the MOECC to make positive updates and additions to conditions in the approval for an Orillia landfill
  • The SWARU incinerator in Hamilton was shut down after residents used the EBR to submit an Application for Review and an Application for Investigation to the MOECC.
Key Outstanding ECO Recommendations
  • In our 2009/2010 Annual Report, the ECO recommended that the MOECC establish and implement a plan to update Certificates of Approval for Ontario landfill sites, with priorities based on environmental risks.
ECO Reporting on Waste

The ECO has reported on many issues related to waste, including: waste diversion legislation and strategies; waste diversion program plans; organic waste; hazardous waste and landfills. Below is a selection of the ECO’s reports and articles on waste diversion and management. You can also use the search bar at the top of this page to search our website and reports for a particular word or phrase.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Waste

Wastewater and Sewage

  • Articles related to sewage and wastewater can be found on our water page.

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