Miller Pleased Ontario Is Finally Acting To Reduce Waste

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Norman Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka made a statement in the Ontario Legislature today to recognize Waste Reduction Week and the steps Ontario is taking to reduce waste.

This week Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Jeff Yurek has released proposed regulations designed to increase recycling and reduce waste by making producers responsible for the waste generated by their products and packaging and create an approach where waste is seen as a resource that can be recovered, reused and reintegrated back into the economy.

This follows an announcement on September 30 where the Minister released proposed regulations designed to increase collection of organic materials for composting and encourage the development of more compostable packaging like compostable coffee pods.

“I am thrilled to see our government actually act to reduce waste,” said Miller. “I first brought the idea of producer responsibility to the Ontario Legislature in a Private Members Bill in 2005.”

The proposed regulations regarding recycling would:

  • Make producers responsible for collecting and managing recycling, taking the costs of municipalities while maintaining or improving access to the blue box program
  • Expand the scope of materials collected in the blue box program and ensure everyone in the province can recycle the same items
  • Set enforceable targets such as 75% of non-alcoholic beverage containers being recycling by 2025

“And I was honoured to join Minister Yurek when he released the proposed regulations regarding organics collection and encouraging innovations in compostable packaging,” said Miller. “The announcement was made at Club Coffee, the company that makes the compostable coffee pods used by Muskoka Roastery Coffee that inspired my Reducing Waste One Pod at a Time bill in 2017.”

The proposed regulations regarding organics would:

  • Clarify and expand the types of materials that may be collected in municipal green bins and other collection systems, including certain compostable products and packaging such as certified compostable coffee pods.
  • Support consumers and businesses in making better decisions about packaging and food waste and spur innovation in the management and processing of compostable products, for example, through technology updates, research, and piloting.

“This is validation of a path we set out on in 2016. If we truly want to move Canada in a sustainable direction, we must act decisively, especially when Made in Canada solutions are at hand. We encourage all Canadians to make this simple change – not tomorrow or next week, but right now,” said Doug Burns, CEO of Muskoka Roastery.

Hansard Transcript

October 22, 2020

As we celebrate Waste Reduction Week Ontario is finally moving towards holding producers responsible for the waste they create and encouraging innovations in compostable packaging.

These are two ideas I brought to the Ontario Legislature as a Private Members Bills.

In 2005 and again in 2007 I introduced a Private Members Bill designed to develop regulations setting hard targets for recycling and requiring producers of products and packaging to be responsible for the recycling of their products and achieve those targets.

That was more than 15 years ago. The previous government talked about creating a circular economy but they didn’t do it.

Then three years ago I toured Muskoka Roastery in Huntsville and learned about the certified compostable coffee pods they use. It is an Ontario innovation produced by Club Coffee in Etobicoke using technology created by the University of Guelph.

In an effort to prevent millions of plastic coffee pods from filling landfills across Ontario I introduced the Reducing Waste one Pod at a Time act in the fall of 2017.

I was pleased to join Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Jeff Yurek at Club Coffee three weeks ago to announce his proposed regulations designed to increase organics collection and encourage compostable packaging.

Keeping organic waste out of landfills will help Ontario reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Both of these ideas came from constituents. Dr. Jim McTaggart-Cowan told me about product stewardship and, as I say, Muskoka Roastery introduced me to compostable coffee pods.

I am proud to be part of a government that is acting on these ideas to reduce waste, in particular plastic waste, and finding ways to create jobs while protecting our environment. And thank you to Minister Yurek.

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