Disposing of waste (by landfill or by burning it) is not only costly, it eats up valuable green space for landfills, squanders valuable resources and contributes to climate change. We need to stop throwing things away and get serious about moving to a zero waste economy. Currently, too much of what ends up in our garbage could be recycled or reused right now. An example is beverage containers. Ontario is one of only two provinces without a deposit return system for all beverage containers. Deposit return systems are a proven way of ensuring these containers don’t end up in our landfills. Similarly, far too much organic waste is still rotting in landfill sites, creating highly climate-destabilizing methane emissions.
In 2016 the Province passed the Waste-Free Ontario Act, which finally puts us on the path towards zero waste. Now it’s time to take the first real steps. We can start the move to zero waste by:
- Banning any product from disposal by 2020 for which a recycling or reuse program already exists
- Implementing a deposit return system for beverage containers
- Ensuring we turn organic waste into compost and renewable natural gas by expanding green bin programs and banning organic waste from disposal