Waste Management Legislation in Canada

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  • Solid waste management is becoming less a matter of personal household initiative and more an institutionalized system of legislation and programs. In order to decrease the amount of waste that is produced, discarded, and disposed of (landfilled or incinerated), governments, non-profit organizations and private companies are developing various programs and initiatives. Some programs make recycling as trouble free as possible while others offer incentives and discounts for reducing waste. While the methods differ widely the goals are the same: maximize the \"3R's\" (recycle, reduce, reuse) and minimize the waste going to landfills. In Canada, all levels of government have legislative authorities with respect to the environment and. more specifically, waste management. A large number of those governments (federal, provincial, regional, municipal) have indeed acted upon that authority and adopted various legislation, regulations programs initiatives, dealing with waste management. These differ widely across jurisdictions. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of governmental legislation and waste management programs currently in effect that deal with household solid waste management. The goal is to compile information on how and to what degree government and business affect the solid waste stream at the household level. The focus is primarily on Canadian legislation and programs. European and American legislation is discussed when relevant. For Canada, the three levels of government are studied. The legislation and programs at the federal level are reviewed as they are for each of the 10 provinces and two territories. At the local level a cross section of municipalities are examined. These municipalities were chosen because they offered extensive or unique programs and covered a wide range of possible programs available at the local level. This research was carried out through the study of legislation, articles, information brochures and personal correspondence. Government officials were contacted at the federal level and from each of the provinces. These officials relayed contact names of officials at the municipal level. Only in Quebec, where granting is done through a non-profit organization and not the government, was information provided by a non-government official. Those contacted then provided the information regarding the current situation in their area. This has lead to a wide difference in the amount of information available for each program. For example, in some provinces, only the text of the legislation was made available without any data or reports on the affect of the legislation on waste management. For other provinces and municipalities, extensive reports were provided and the direct effect of the programs can be estimated. For provinces and areas where only the text of the legislation was available, speculation as to its effect has been avoided and only the pertinent sections of the legislation are presented. For the United States and Europe information was taken primarily from articles and information packages. It must be understood that the nature and numbers of initiatives, programs, regulations are changing constantly. Indeed, new programs are developed, existing ones modified and refined, and old legislation overhauled on a continual basis. Hence, the paper offers a description of the programs as they currently exist.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International