Canadian Manufacturing

Expanded waste diversion would boost Ontario’s economy: report

Local waste diversion could create almost 13,000 jobs, generate $1.5 billion in additional GDP

TORONTO—Expanded waste diversion—including recycling, reusing and composting—in Ontario could provide a solid boost to province’s economy, according to a new report.

Published by the Conference Board of Canada for the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA), the study claims greater diversion of residential and non-residential waste—including industrial, commercial and institutional streams—on home soil would increase employment and economic activity in Ontario to the tune of almost 13,000 jobs and $1.5 billion in gross domestic product (GDP).

“Diversion is an increasingly important aspect of solid waste management,” Vijay Gill, report co-author and policy research director with the think-tank, said in the report’s release.

“Increasing diversion supports a significant number of jobs and economic growth (and) would support new jobs in Ontario instead of exporting them to (the United States).”

Currently, about 47 per cent of residential waste in Ontario is diverted, while only 11 per cent of non-residential waste is kept out of landfills, according to the report.

That means only 23 per cent of the combined 12 million tonnes of waste generated in the province in 2010 was diverted.

According to the report, roughly one third of waste produced in Ontario is shipped to Michigan and New York for disposal.

If Ontario’s level of local waste diversion reached 60 per cent for the combined residential and non-residential streams, however, the report claims the province’s GDP would get a $1.5-billion boost and 12,700 direct and indirect full-time jobs would be created.

According to the OWMA website, the province’s waste management industry currently employs more than 13,000 people.

The report notes that some manufacturing jobs could be affected if firms were to replace virgin material with recycled material, as we as some landfill jobs, however authors “did not consider” the impact of displaced jobs.

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