February 9, 2004

Ont draws on successful western model for draft used oil materials diversion program

Comments are being accepted until February 16, 2004 on a draft waste diversion program plan for used oil, oil filters and used plastic oil containers in Ontario. The Used Oil Material Program Plan was developed in consultation with industry and municipal stakeholders by the Ontario Used Oil Management Association (OUOMA), a not-for-profit industry group representing manufacturers, brand owners and first importers of oil and oil filters.

In 2002, more than 183 million litres of used oil were available for diversion in Ontario, but only an estimated 55% was recovered, leaving some 82 million or 45% uncollected. In the same year, an estimated 20% of the 25.7 million oil filters sold and 7% of the 2 million kilograms of plastic oil containers generated were recovered.

In addition to taking up valuable space in landfills, used oil filters and containers contain residual oil that can leach into the soil and groundwater. There are numerous end uses for these materials: oil filter paper, drained of used oil, is used as fuel in cement kilns while the scrap metal is recycled. Plastic oil containers are also used as a fuel for cement kilns, as well as raw material for manufacturing plastic products for a variety of applications. Used and residual oil is re-refined to produce lubricating oil, fuel and asphalt components, or it may be processed into fuel for industrial uses or in space heaters (with Ministry of Environment approval).

Lubricating oil is sold in containers ranging in size from 250-ml plastic bottles, through 205-litre drums and 1,600-litre "lube cubes" to 30,000-litre tank trucks and 50,000-litre rail cars. Ontario's recovery/diversion program, however, will apply only to containers with a capacity of 30 litres or less. Drawing on successful models implemented in western Canada, Ontario's program will be self-financing and not for profit, funded through an environmental handling charge (EHC), payable by OUOMA members, who are stewards of lubricating oil and oil filters in the province. EHCs will be subject to adjustments based on changing market conditions, and there will be no financial penalty to those currently managing the products appropriately.

Return incentives will be established, payable to collectors of used oil material once they deliver acceptable material to a registered receiver within or outside Ontario. This is intended to ensure the quality of used oil material received. The incentives will be set so as to encourage the collection of used oil materials and to allow collectors and/or receivers to compensate collection facilities and large generators for their used oil material. All collectors and receivers participating in the program will be required to register with the OUOMA and to meet its operating requirements.

A first priority for the association will be to put in place an adequate network of collection facilities throughout the Ontario: the program plan calls for a minimum of 200 such facilities to be up and running within one year after the program is approved. The OUOMA may take advantage of existing municipal, industrial, commercial, institutional or retail facilities for this purpose. In cases where new facilities must be established, these will have to comply with all applicable provincial regulations.

"OUOMA has worked hard to deliver a program to divert used oil materials from landfills, and direct them to more environmentally responsible recovery and recycling processes," said OUOMA chair Gail Bebee.

All comments will be considered as the plan is finalized for submission to Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) in the near future. Once approved by WDO, the program plan will be presented to the Minister of Environment for final approval and will be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry as part of the Ministry of Environment approval process.

The plan may be viewed on-line at www.usedoilrecycling.com. More information is also available from OUOMA project manager Paulette Vinette, 416/252-8263.

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