Opportunities for Ontario’s Waste: Economic Impacts of Waste Diversion in North America

The Conference Board of Canada, 20 pages, May 28, 2014
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This briefing summarizes waste production and management in Ontario, and reviews the economic impacts of waste diversion from jurisdictions across North America, in order to provide an understanding of the various outcomes of waste diversion initiatives. As well, the general findings from these studies are applied to Ontario, in order to estimate the possible effects of increased waste diversion in that province.

Document Highlights

Waste diversion is an increasingly important aspect of solid waste management. In addition to the obvious benefits of preserving landfill capacity and reducing the environmental footprint of disposed waste, diverting waste can help to avoid the costs and environmental degradation associated with the extraction and processing of new materials. Additionally, recycling and reusing old products can reduce material extraction and production costs.

The results of our research on waste diversion in North America confirm that increased waste diversion results in job creation and GDP growth, and therefore represents a significant economic opportunity for Ontario. We estimate that increasing Ontario's rate of waste diversion from its current 23 per cent to 60 per cent would create about 13,000 jobs and increase GDP by $1.5 billion. Increasing the rate of waste diversion would also reduce Ontario's dependence on U.S. landfills.

Waste diversion has substantial economic implications and potential for Ontario. Policy-makers should explore opportunities to realize this potential and simultaneously replace exported waste disposal jobs with domestic waste diversion jobs.

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