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Scientists have figured out just how much and where it's coming from.

Ontario to make manufacturers pay for recyclables


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, February 19, 2016, 4:01 PM - Ontario could save up to $115 million a year by making manufacturers cover the cost of recycling the plastic and paper products they create.

Ontario Minister of the Environment Glen Murray proposed the idea earlier this week at Queen's Park.

"Proctor and Gamble, Unilever, who make all those wonderful consumer products, soaps and shampoos, will be responsible for the products and the cost of the life cycle of the products," Murray said, according to the CBC.


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If the new proposal were to become law, municipalities would still run the blue box recycling program.

Currently, the province splits recycling costs with industry stewardship groups. Under the new proposal, the entire bill would be sent to the companies that produced the recyclables.

Companies would be obligated to report data to a central agency. 

"I've been pushing for that because they think they can get savings; they think that they can improve their packaging, reduce the volume of their packaging, use materials that are more durable," said Murray.

Officials are drawing up the details of the proposal, but there's no word on if, or when, it will pass into law.

PLASTIC WASTE AN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE

While plastic is an integral part of modern society, this "miracle material" has a downside. It's estimated that 1 billion tonnes of plastic have been discarded worldwide since the 1950s and research suggests it will take up to 500 years for some forms to biodegrade.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, only 8% of the total plastic waste generated in 2010 in the U.S. actually made it to recycling plants.


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The other 92% was shuffled off to landfills or found its way into the water.

According to the CBC, paper and plastic makes up roughly 20 per cent of the waste collected from Ottawa homes. Approximately 55 per cent of that waste currently ends up in the landfill.

Source: CBC

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