Roles of Producers and Corporations in Waste Management
Waste issues start at production. Producers are any brand holder with connections to a commercial market or packaging market in Ontario (Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks, 2019). Some of these producers include importers, wholesalers, and retailers.
Producers are required to follow the Environmental Protection Act and, more importantly, the relatively new Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act that was passed in 2016. Producers must also adhere to the Extended Producer Responsibility initiative, whereby importers and producers bear a significant level of responsibility for the disposal of their products.
This includes upstream impacts such as the selection of materials they use and disposal methods of those products.
The Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act lays out a new provincial strategy in Ontario designed to reduce waste that reaches landfill sites (Government of Ontario, 2016).
The act enables the government to hold producers fully responsible for the effects their products have on the environment through financial responsibility for the recovery of the resources used in the production of the product (Canada’s ecoFiscal Commission, 2018).
To comply with this Act, producers need to find innovative solutions in order to reduce materials used in production, develop products that can be reused, or develop a system to recover waste products before they reach landfills (Government of Ontario, 2016).
Products that must be recovered or reduced include any packing product that is used in the transportation of goods.
Producers are also responsible for a level of education to the public on the importance of resource recovery with the hope of engaging the community in making more environmentally friendly choices.
All projects and plans must adhere to the Integrated Accessibility Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), ensuring that anyone can access the services and products.
This mandate to reduce or recover resources creates an opportunity for businesses to create profit from recycling, which incentivizes responsible waste management at the production level (Government of Ontario, 2016).
Throughout Ontario, there are several private waste management companies. These companies own a majority of the waste disposal sites in Ontario and are responsible for the handling and disposal of waste. Some companies include GFL Environmental, Wasteco,
Waste Management Inc. (WM), and Miller Waste Systems. Private waste management companies have a complex network of recycling facilities, waste disposal bins, landfills, and transfer stations to meet a variety of needs, ranging from construction waste to metal to yard waste.
After collecting the waste, it is sorted so that the compostable items can be composted, and recyclables can be recycled. The small portion of remaining waste is then taken to the landfill.
There are several reasons why communities see privatization as a logical solution to their waste management needs. Outsourcing one’s trash removal can save the government money in terms of personnel and equipment while offering the same level of high-quality services that residents have come to expect.
Read Also : Roles of Government in Waste Management
However, there can also be issues in relation to private waste management companies. While privatization can dissolve any unnecessary monopolies, be more effective and flexible than existing services and encourage competition between providers, it can also lead to significant rate increases.
It can diminish accountability for officials, compromise services due to the provider’s profit motivation and lower morale for municipal workers with an increased fear of layoffs and displacement (The Globe and Mail, 2014)
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