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Ontario searches for waste reduction champions

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Canada is celebrating the 15th anniversary of Waste Reduction Week, which runs from October 17 to 23. To celebrate this national environmental campaign that builds awareness of sustainable and responsible consumption, the Ontario government is calling on local champions to apply for the 2016 Minister’s Award of Environmental Excellence.

This year’s award focuses on outstanding efforts to recover and reuse waste resources. Examples could include the recovery of nutrients, repurposing end of life products for innovative uses, or creating a smartphone app to help people track and reduce how much waste they produce.

Statistics Canada estimates the industrial, commercial, and institutional sectors are responsible for 65 per cent of the 25 million tonnes of waste generated every year in Canada, and only 19 per cent is diverted from landfills.

In Ontario, only 28 per cent of waste is diverted from landfills. If diversion increases to 60 per cent, the province states it could support about 13,000 jobs and add about $1.5 billion to the provincial gross domestic product.

“We’re transforming how we think about Ontario’s resources – not just our land, water, and air – but the resources that can be recovered from the items we once thought of as trash,” said Minister of Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray. “We can all do our part to save valuable resources from landfill, and instead circulate them back into the production stream – reducing greenhouse gas emissions and boosting the economy.”

Applicants for the Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence must apply by December 2, 2016. All prior applications received in all other categories for the award 2016 cycle, are still being considered.

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