September 4 is the last date for public comment on the Province of Ontario's proposed Waste Reduction Act, legislation that is silent on litter. We believe this is the time to be hands-on and address littering head-on.
Bill 91 in Ontario, the Waste Reduction Act, leaves a loophole you can drive a truck through and then litter out its window afterwards. No self-respecting environmentalist would condone a province-wide waste reduction law that doesn't include a plan for dealing with littering.
As this photo validates, Ontario operates under an antiquated, hands-off approach to littering. The new bill attempts to write-off litter altogether by relying on the insidious industry term, "end of life waste". This insider jargon means industry and government can legally ignore the issue of waste that is littered, such as the materials seen above, clogging the drains within a few meters of Ontario's laughably ineffective litter sign, advertising a law that is rarely enforced and routinely ignored.
Those chip bags, food wrappers, cups and gum on the ground – they may look dead, but they are not at the “end of life”. The bin is their coffin. If they do not land in a bin, legislators let producers off the hook. This dimly lit view has led to Ontario’s failure to reach its 60 per cent diversion target. (Currently at 25%) It’s the reason why littering continues to be pervasive and growing in Ontario and why the provincial government gives the issue of litter as waste zero of its attention.
Fifty-five per cent of all littering is deliberate. The rest is accidental. Regardless, all littering is illegal.
I believe Ontario should deal with littering as it deals with waste reduction and diversion. A good start would be to delete all references to “end-of-life” waste and just call it what it all is: “waste.”
How can anyone credibly say that litter and waste don’t fit together?
You would be helping the litter prevention cause by telling the Ministry of Environment before September 4, 2013 that you object to litter being omitted from Ontario's proposed Waste Reduction Act. A simple sentence like that is all you need to say. Contact information, comment form and details about Bill 91 are here.