Similarly to traffic laws and taxes, residential and commercial recycling regulations are managed at the stage and local level throughout Canada. The regulations are intended to maximize recycling efforts and minimize waste across communities. However, recycling rates have stayed stagnant despite the efforts of provincial and local officials to reduce waste. It’s crucial that today’s businesses learn to adhere to local recycling regulations, helping them recycle as much as possible!
Ontario is shifting to a circular economy – a new waste management approach where waste is seen as a resource that can be recovered, reused and reintegrated into the production stream. Markets are implementing regulatory mandates at growing rates. Some cities have introduced zero-waste policies and diversion programs that have shown potential to increase recycling. However, reports show that millions of companies are still behind in their zero-waste efforts. The adoption rate of the policies are at a minimum because commercial and residential spaces don’t have access to basic recycling services.
WASTE DIVERSION PROGRAMS
Ontario has four diversion programs to reuse, recycle or safely dispose of waste. They operate on the producer responsibility principle, where producers are responsible for managing their products and packaging at end-of-life. Blue Box Program: recycles printed paper and packaging (plastics, paper, glass, aluminum, steel)
- Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program: recycles or properly disposes of paint, antifreeze, batteries, fertilizers and other hazardous or special materials
- Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Program: reuses or recycles electronic equipment like computers, televisions and stereos
- Used Tires Program: recycles used tires from passenger, truck and off-road vehicles
WHY AREN’T BUSINESSES RECYCLING?
There is minimal data of adoption rates and engagements surrounding business recycling regulations. Regulations go a long way in defining rules and guidelines for businesses to follow, but participation is still low due to reasons ranging from expensive costs, not enough space to recycle and a lack of interest present from management.
When was the last time you reviewed your waste and recycling setup? You could be over-paying for those bulky containers that take up a lot of room. You may be able to downsize to stream-specific recycling receptacles (no more more worrying about those expensive steel containers). There are plenty of local recycling services (waste, metal, scraps etc.) who will pay close attention to local recycling policies and provide solutions to you/ your company needs. This will make work to make your recycling and waste management easier and more efficient.