October 4, 2004

WDO reports 2003 waste diversion results

Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) has posted municipal waste diversion statistics for 2003 on its Web site, www.wdo.ca, under Municipal Datacall 2003 Data. Although there were three fewer municipal residential recycling programs operating in 2003 - 194, down from 197 in 2002 - these programs collected a total of 435,000 tonnes of residential organic waste, a 21% increase over the 360,000 tonnes collected in 2002, and marketed 780,000 tonnes of Blue Box materials, up 7.3% from the previous year's total of 727,000 tonnes. WDO points out that the slight decrease in number of programs reflects programs that amalgamated and joint programs that disbanded during 2003, as well as new programs that started up in 2003.

Other statistics also illustrate the success of Ontario municipalities in diverting waste from disposal during 2003.

*Per-household recovery rates for residential Blue Box Waste increased to 174 kilograms annually, up from 164 kg per household per year in 2002 and 161 kg in 2001.

*Curbside collection of residential Blue Box Waste is provided weekly by 71 programs in Ontario, with 64 programs providing bi-weekly curbside collection. Weekly collection is provided to 43% of total households served. With 50% of the total households served receiving bi-weekly collection service.

*Bag limits, intended to support waste diversion programs, are a component of 80 programs. The most common bag limits are two or three bags per collection.

*Some form of a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) system for garbage set out on the curb has been implemented in 92 programs. The most common cost is $1 to $2 per extra bag of garbage set out.

This is the second year that WDO has had the responsibility for the Municipal Tonnage Datacall. Through the annual Datacall, WDO compiles program information, tonnage data for diverted materials and waste, and costs for managing residential Blue Box materials.

Each municipal program provided tonnage data for the calendar year 2003 for Blue Box materials, organic waste, household special wastes, electronic waste and other recyclable materials while providing cost data for residential Blue Box programs. Tonnage and Blue Box financial data have been verified by a committee of municipal and industry representatives.

These data constitute the basis for funding to municipalities through the Blue Box program plan. Under the plan, brand owners and first importers of products that result in packaging and printed materials collected through residential Blue Box programs are responsible for 50% of the net costs of municipal recycling programs, as of February 1, 2004.

For municipalities, the cheque really is in the mail, as Stewardship Ontario late last week began sending out the second round of payments, totalling nearly $4.5 million, from industry stewards in support of 189 municipal Blue Box programs. "This brings the total amount industry has contributed to municipal Blue Box recycling programs so far this year to $11.2 million," said Stewardship Ontario CEO Damian Bassett.

Stewardship Ontario is the industry funding organization for the Blue Box Program Plan and is authorized under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 to collect the funds from industry and distribute them to municipalities. The first cheques under the industry funding program, totaling $6.7 million, were sent out in early June. Program funding payments will be distributed quarterly with the next mailing due in December, 2004.

"More than 1,500 companies that produce and distribute products in Ontario which subsequently become Blue Box waste have registered and are paying fees. These companies have stepped forward to accept greater responsibility for the management of these materials at the end of their useful life," Bassett said.

More information is available from Glenda Gies, executive director of Waste Diversion Ontario, 416/226-5113, ext 296.

WDO has also proposed a new policy relating to voluntary stewards under the Blue Box program plan. The policy would authorize Stewardship Ontario to accept, through a contractual arrangement, two categories of voluntary stewards. These include: brand owners who are not residents of Ontario and who choose to become stewards of designated Blue Box wastes which would otherwise be the responsibility of first importers; and franchisors who choose to become stewards of designated Blue Box wastes for which franchisees would otherwise be responsible.

The proposal has been posted on the Environmental Bills of Rights registry for a 30-day comment period ending October 14, 2004 (registry reference No RA04E0014).

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