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Completion of a comprehensive waste reduction audit and the development of a workplan are the requirements for establishments over 90,000 square ft in Ontario. In accordance with the 3R’s Regulations, the workplan is to be updated at least annually. The focal priority of these audits and workplans are to achieve or exceed compliance with the Ministry of Environment regulations and devise ensure that materials in the waste stream can be source separated and diverted into recycle streams.
The government of Ontario has established a target to decrease the amount of waste going to disposal by at least 60% by the year 2008 compared to a base year of 2004, when Ontario’s diversion rate was 28%. Under Ontario Regulation 102/94, it is a requirement that designated organizations conduct an annual solid waste audit and devise a Waste Reduction Workplan. This waste audit is essentially a study of the solid wastes that are generated, going beyond simply measuring the quantity and composition of waste. The ultimate purpose is to identify the underlying reasons for this waste generation and to identify the factors that dictate how the waste is being managed.
According to the regulation, the audits must address:
- The amount, nature and composition of the waste generated in all functional areas of the establishment
- How the waste is produced, including relevant management policies and practices
- How the waste is managed
There are four basic steps to implementing a waste reduction program required under regulation 102/94:
- Conducting a waste audit
- Developing a Waste Reduction Workplan
- Implementing the workplan
- Updating the audit and workplan
The information from the waste audit is the basis for developing the Waste Reduction Workplan. The workplan addresses the 3R’s opportunities to be implemented following the 3R’s hierarchy, with reduction as first priority, followed by reuse, and then recycling.
Regulation 102/94 requires that the owner or operator of a designated establishment have in place a continuing Waste Reduction Program that makes the 3R’s a regular part of operations or doing business. Regulation 102/94 requires that all waste audits and waste reduction workplans be updated at least once a year. This will ensure that the audit and workplan are reasonably up-to-date. A business that experiences rapid growth or significant change in production processes may need to update its audit and workplan on a more frequent basis.
Large waste generators are required to establish source separation programs for designated waste materials. These designated materials represent large components of the waste stream that can be diverted from disposal. Measures must be taken to ensure that the collected source separated wastes are removed from the site and delivered to a municipal waste recycling site (as defined in Ontario Regulation 101/94) or another site with the capability to handle the source-separated waste.
As production increases and demand for environmental compliance also increases, managing these materials can become more of a challenge. A full waste reduction audit needs to be done to; reduce the wastes generated, reuse as much material as possible, and recycle where the other two may not be feasible. This is the 3R’s hierarchy.