March 2, 2017
Implementing the Waste-Free Ontario Act
Supporting the Introduction of Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority
As producer responsibility evolved in Ontario it became clear that a neutral agency with capacity to deliver oversight and enforcement of its programs was necessary to improve performance and accountability. It was also recognized that data deficiencies prevent policy advancements within and outside of producer responsibility regimes.
In response, the Waste-Free Ontario Act established the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) with clearly prescribed mandate, role, and responsibility. In addition, the RPRA has a unique dual function of establishing and managing a data registry with oversight and enforcement powers for obligated parties and materials. Most importantly, building an effective agency is critical to improving the implementation of producer responsibility and expanding waste reduction policies in Ontario. As the RPRA establishes itself and with its distinct role and the potential scope of its work, RCO invited the RPRA to share their progress to date, as well as European agencies that have:
- built and managed a registry where information is used to support compliance to regulation,
- direct relationships with government,
- charge registration-like fees,
- responsibility to identify non-compliance and provide enforcement support,
- a role in verifying information that supports enforcement.
Ms. Gies is the first appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority, a non-Crown, not-for-profit organization. It oversees producers’ performance under the new producer responsibility regime and the operation of existing waste diversion programs until they are transitioned to the new producer responsibility regime. Key functions of the Authority also include operating a public-facing registry, with information and data related to resource recovery and waste reduction, as well as conducting compliance and enforcement activities.
To operate the registry the Authority will collect information from responsible producers through registration and reporting. The intent is for it to have the necessary data from the regulated community to effectively monitor and assess producers’ performance.
Mr. Grove is a Senior Advisor working in the Head Office Waste Team for the Environment Agency (EA), which is an executive agency of the government that fulfills and co-ordinates an environmental regulatory role for England. Its responsibilities include oversight and enforcement of four producer responsibility regimes for packaging, WEEE, portable batteries, and vehicles.
The UK producer system is markets-based and uses tradable certificates of recovery. For packaging alone, Mr. Grove’s department registers and monitories activities of 6,000 producers, 48 compliance schemes, 160 reprocessors, and 196 exporters for 10,000,000 tonnes of packaging. He leads a department that has some of the same responsibilities to RPRA, which includes establishing and managing a registry of obligated parties; monitoring, auditing and enforcing compliance; auditing recovery and recycling activities.
Mr. Henry is General Manager of the Producer Register Limited (PRL), which registers all producers that bring electric and electronic equipment (EEE) to market in Ireland, and calculates producers’ financial liability for the environmentally sound management of their products at end of life through an electronic reporting tool called WEEE Blackbox. There are currently 1,400 live producers in the Irish system that must register annually and submit monthly reports to WEEE Blackbox on the quantities placed on the market in the previous month.
In 2008, PRL took on the same tasks for producers of batteries and accumulators, and will assume the same functions for tires beginning April 2017.