June 2, 2014
A new study concludes that Ontario could increase its gross domestic product (GDP) by $1.5 billion and create nearly 13,000 jobs by increasing its waste diversion rate to 60 percent from the current total of less than 25 percent.
The report, published by the Conference Board of Canada, provides information for regulators and politicians currently debating waste diversion reforms, according to a news release.
While 47 percent of residential waste is diverted, only 11 percent of commercial and industrial waste avoids landfills.
The job increase calculation is conservative, said Rob Cook, CEO of the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA), which financially supported the study. It also would decrease Ontario’s dependence upon U.S. landfills in Michigan and New York as a home for its waste.
The OWMA argues for the province to take three steps: Fix the broken waste diversion framework; increase waste diversion in areas with low rates through means such as disposal bans and extended producer responsibility (EPR); and require direct accountability for achieving environmental outcomes.
"With Ontario’s election pivoting around jobs and the economy, the OWMA has taken the step of distributing copies of ‘Economic Impacts of Waste Diversion in North America’ to each provincial party leader,” Cook said. “We trust this is the right information, provided at the right time to aid politicians of every stripe to understand and embrace the potential employment and waste diversion benefits."