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Pollution Probe urges extension of Ontario’s Waste Reduction Act, 2013

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World Cement,

Pollution Probe, a Canadian non-profit organisation that aims to advance policy that achieves positive, tangible environmental change, has issued a report entitled ‘Report on Energy from Waste in Ontario’s Cement Sector: Finding Worth in Waste’. This report is in response to Government of Ontario legislation, Waste Reduction Act, 2013 and Waste Reduction Strategy, 2013. Waste Reduction Act, 2013 is legislation intended to replace Waste Diversion Act, 2002. The purpose of Waste Reduction Act, 2013 is ‘to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste derived from products’.

In the Executive Summary of the ‘Finding Worth in Waste’ report, Pollution Probe applauds the Government of Ontario for ‘embracing the vision of a zero landfill future for the province’. The organisation argues that the introduction of the new Act creates an opportunity for the provincial government to nurture new approaches to material design and waste management. The report states: ‘Individual producer responsibility is one provision of the proposed Waste Reduction Act, 2013 and Waste Reduction Strategy, 2013, that is particularly conducive to innovation, as it encourages waste reduction at the source and promotes market-oriented, competitive solutions over a product’s life cycle.’ The report then goes on to note that the ‘3R waste management hierarchy’ (reduce, reuse, recycle), upheld from the previous legislation, limits the ‘progressive nature’ of this provision.

‘Pollution Probe is concerned that by dismissing energy recovery from waste as a component of accepted waste management options, the proposed Waste Reduction Act, 2013 and Waste Reduction Strategy, 2013, may be failing to address Ontario’s pressing landfill capacity issue in a timely manner, and may be missing out on realizing substantial emissions reductions in the waste management and manufacturing sectors. Energy from waste using today’s best available technologies, and utilized in its proper place in Ontario’s waste hierarchy (after the 3Rs, yet before landfilling), should be counted towards the province’s waste diversion targets and should be deemed acceptable in industries that require a steady stream of hydrocarbon-based fuels to power their manufacturing processes (industries like cement, steel and lime manufacturing).’

Pollution Probe urges the Government of Ontario to allow the province’s cement industry to utilise refuse-derived fuel, stating: ‘The central role that cement plays, and will continue to play, in our society’s infrastructure is such that we feel the sector should be given the latitude it needs to test and employ a variety of alternative fuels as it strives to reduce its environmental impact and maintain its economic viability’.

The report cites Lafarge Canada’s biomass demonstration project at the Bath, Ontario plant and the biofuels project at St Marys Cement as key examples of energy from waste projects in the province and endorses such projects’ contributions to the environment, the economy and society.

The Executive Summary concludes: ‘By endorsing energy from waste in the cement sector, the Government of Ontario could further its mandate to eliminate coal as a source of energy in the province through the displacement of coal as a fuel in industrial processes. The cement sector is currently one of [the] biggest users of coal and petroleum coke in the province, but with forward-thinking policy initiatives the province could help to eliminate the combustion of these fossil fuels altogether.’

To read the full report, visit

Adapted from Pollution Probe report by 

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