In late July, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario released a report entitled “Getting it Right: Paying for the Management of Household Hazardous Wastes”. The ECO was supportive of the extended producer responsibility principle, that shifts waste disposal costs for household hazardous materials away from municipal taxpayers and onto the producers and users of such products. However, the ECO had a number of critiques of the existing Orange Drop Program.

First, the Orange Drop Program levies a single fee per material type, regardless of product design. This means that the producer of a product that is easier to recycle or that contains fewer toxic materials, is charged the same fee as a product that is more difficult to recycle or contains more toxics. The ECO suggests varied fees, or a move toward a more competitive system where multiple stewardship programs would exist and allow for variable stewardship fees.

Second, the ECO noted that a significant portion of household hazardous waste is still directed to municipal landfills, rather than being diverted into the Orange Drop Program’s collection infrastructure. The ECO argues that the cost of managing the waste disposal at municipal landfills ought to be covered by producers, along with the cost of managing materials collected through the Orange Drop Program.