A Regulatory Agenda for Solid Waste Reduction

Publisher:  Department of Works
Year Published:  1990  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX4126

Abstract:  Prepared and funded by SWEAP, this discussion paper is about using regulation to reduce municipal solid waste. The plan will determine Metropolitan Toronto's waste management system for the next twenty to forty years.
The first of five parts offers a brief overview of the nature and extent of the waste management problems confronting our society. It underscores the ecological imperative of waste reduction, and examines the need to fundamentally revise the assumptions that have allowed our `throw-away' society to flourish.
Part II describes several criteria for evaluating strategies to reduce solid wastes. It warns of the difficulties of devising these strategies, given the lack of information we have about the waste we generate. It also provides a glossary of related terms.
Parts III to V lay out the regulatory powers of municipal, provincial and federal governments in relation to solid waste. Traditionally, provincial and federal governments implement new initiatives regulating waste reduction, and then hand these directives over to the municipal government to carry out. SWEAP proposes a small turning-of-tables. The paper presents several ways in which municipalities may use their current authority, and some new powers, to reduce solid waste. And since "the primary emphasis of waste management must become reduction," SWEAP argues that the focus of regulatory action should shift to provincial and federal governments.
Examples of some of the recommendations include: a ranking of alternatives (reduction, reuse, recycling, then recovery); an objective of 60 per cent waste reduction by 1998; packaging regulations; and colour-coded labelling of store-bought products to discern between re-usable, recyclable, compostable, hazardous, etc.
Perhaps of greater interest to the general public are less detailed (but better written) pamphlets and booklets published by SWEAP. They come in a kit containing SWEAP news and booklets introducing SWEAP, discussing the problems, waste management options, composting, methods of getting involved, and other information.

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