"ECO FEE" CONTROVERSY MUST NOT JEOPARDIZE HAZARDOUS WASTE PROGRAM: ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONER
Tuesday, July 27th 2010 10:49:29am
(July 27, 2010 - Toronto) Ontario's program for managing hazardous waste is an important step in the right direction and should not be scrapped, says Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller in his Special Report, released today. The report notes, however, that the program is not perfect, and offers recommendations for its improvement.
Miller fears that recent controversy and confusion over the implementation of the second phase of the hazardous waste management program, particularly the unfortunate decision by some retailers to invent the concept of "eco fees", could jeopardize the future of this necessary program. The report aims to provide clarity about the program and refocus the discussion back on the core issue: how to manage - and finance the management of - hazardous wastes.
"While not perfect, the hazardous waste program is definitely a step in the right direction. It will keep more hazardous materials out of our environment and will take the cost of managing these wastes off the taxpayer and put it where it belongs: on the manufacturers of the hazardous waste products," said Miller.
Despite the Commissioner's support for the program, his report identifies some necessary areas for improvement and provides two key recommendations.
"A critical problem with the program is there's no incentive for manufacturers to make their products greener since they are all charged the same 'steward fee' regardless of how environmentally friendly their products are," Miller continued. "Greener products should have lower fees. This would encourage competition between companies, which should result in less toxic and more recyclable products, and keep the program costs in check."
"Another problem with Ontario's program is that manufacturers only pay for the management of wastes collected through the program, and not for wastes going to landfill. Because Stewardship Ontario aims to collect only 42% of the available hazardous waste in the program's first year, taxpayers will still be footing the bill for managing more than half of Ontario's hazardous waste."
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For more information contact:
Hayley Easto, Communications & Outreach Coordinator,
416-325-3371 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Report is available at www.eco.on.ca
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