Ontario Proposes to Further Reduce Landfill Food Waste

Published on October 06, 2020

Government consulting on the expansion of materials that should be collected in green bins

September 30, 2020

Environment, Conservation and Parks

TORONTO — The Ontario government is seeking public input on its proposal to reduce the amount of food and organic waste going to landfills. Proposed amendments to the Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement would clarify and expand the types of materials that should be collected by municipalities in green bins and encourage innovation in the processing of compostable products.

"Consumers and businesses want to cut down on the amount of waste they create by composting food and other organic materials, but with programs and services varying from community to community, there is a lot of inconsistency and confusion about how to do this," said Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. "Our proposal provides greater clarity and encourages innovative compostable products and packaging, so we can help businesses and the public make better decisions about packaging and food waste in order to keep it out of our landfills."

The Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement provides direction to municipalities, industrial and commercial businesses, and institutions on reducing and diverting food and organic waste.

Proposed changes to the policy statement would:

  • Clarify and expand the types of materials that may be collected in municipal green bins and other collection systems, including certain compostable products and packaging such as certified compostable coffee pods.
  • Support consumers and businesses in making better decisions about packaging and food waste and spur innovation in the management and processing of compostable products, for example, through technology updates, research, and piloting.
  • Reduce waste from going to landfill.

The province will also work with municipalities, businesses and institutions to identify ways they can improve the tracking and reporting of their efforts to meet waste reduction and diversion targets.

Proposed changes to the Organic Waste Policy Statement were informed by the Compostable Products Technical Working Group, made up of experts from municipalities, industry and the waste management sector.

"As the country's largest food company, Kraft Heinz Canada shares the Ontario government's goal of protecting our air, land and water," said Bruno Keller, President, Kraft Heinz Canada. "With our commitment to a more sustainable future, we are pleased Ontario's update of the Food and Organic Waste Policy recognizes the value of innovations like our Maxwell House compostable coffee pods in achieving that goal."

"Consumers want products and packaging that are better for the environment. Premier Ford, Minister Yurek and this government are opening the door for businesses like Club Coffee to deliver those results through the updated Food and Organic Waste Policy that addresses innovations such as our compostable coffee pods that are creating more jobs for Ontario workers and cutting plastic waste," said John Pigott, CEO of Club Coffee.

The public can provide their feedback on amendments to the Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement, which is open for public comment on the Environmental Registry until November 14, 2020. These comments will help inform updates to the policy which are designed to prevent and reduce food waste and explore innovative options for compostable packaging changes.

"These actions, together with our other waste reduction initiatives, are part of our commitment to reduce litter and waste in our communities and make waste reduction and recycling easier for the people of Ontario," said Minister Yurek.


Quick Facts

  • Over 60 per cent of Ontario’s food waste is sent to landfills, even with over 90 municipal green bin programs in Ontario. When this material ends up in landfills, it creates methane, which is 28 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when measured over a 100-year period.
  • In Canada, $31 billion worth of food is wasted annually. Ontarians alone generated nearly 3.6 million tonnes of food and organic waste.
  • Ontario's 2019 Reducing Litter and Waste Discussion Paper outlines the province's commitment to an outcome-based approach to reducing litter and waste in our communities, as well as steps for making waste reduction, reuse, and recycling easier for the people of Ontario.
  • Reducing and diverting food and organic waste from landfills is a key commitment in Ontario’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan.