8. Reduction Plans
Section 188 of CEPA 1999 creates a new authority for the Minister of the Environment. The Minister may require an exporter or class of exporters of hazardous waste or prescribed non-hazardous waste for final disposal to submit and implement a plan "for the purpose of reducing or phasing out" those exports. Once such a requirement is imposed, the Minister may refuse to issue an export permit if the plan is not submitted or implemented.
Section 191(g) of CEPA 1999 authorizes the Government to develop regulations respecting these plans, "taking into account: i) the benefit of using the nearest appropriate facility, and ii) changes in the quantity of goods the production of which generates hazardous waste to be disposed of by an exporter or class of exporters."
Environment Canada explained that it proposes to use the Section 188 authority in a manner consistent with the overall emphasis on pollution prevention under CEPA 1999. In most cases, therefore, it will require waste reduction planning where it perceives an opportunity to promote pollution prevention.
The new regulations will support the implementation of this new authority by including provisions modeled on the pollution prevention planning provisions in Part 4 of CEPA 1999. These provisions will clarify the Minister's authority to require waste reduction plans, including the obligation to meet deadlines and submit various declarations of progress. They also will confirm the Minister's authority to specify the levels of export reduction to be achieved.
In addition, Environment Canada proposed that the new regulations require that all notices for exports for final disposal include a certification from the exporter that it has examined options for waste minimization and recycling. This requirement would be very similar to the requirement in Division 3 of Part 7 of CEPA 1999 that all applicants for an ocean disposal permit "demonstrate that appropriate consideration has been given" to the waste management hierarchy, and that states that a permit shall be refused "if opportunities exist to re-use, recycle or treat the waste - without undue risks to human health or the environment or disproportionate costs."11
As particular environmental concerns arise, Environment Canada may request additional information from the exporter or require a reduction plan under Section 188.
The Department noted that it will be important to ensure that the definition of "exporter" applicable to this section of the regulations encompasses the original generator. This will be necessary to allow the Minister to require the original generator of the waste as well as the waste management company notifying as the exporter to prepare the waste reduction plan.
Participants provided the following reactions to the proposed approach to implementing these provisions:
- An ENGO representative argued that Environment Canada should apply waste reduction planning requirements to exports and imports of hazardous wastes and recyclable materials. Hazardous recyclable materials contain hazardous waste residues that should be subject to these provisions, and there should be equal treatment and protection on imports and exports for trade reasons.
- It was suggested by one stakeholder that, because of the failure to fully consider pollution prevention and source reduction options, the proposed waste reduction requirements under EIHWR are inconsistent with Basel commitments and CEPA amendments.
- Stakeholders suggested that waste generated during the production process, and waste generated after the use of a product, should be subject to different control mechanisms. As an example, extended producer responsibility tools should target post-consumer waste, whereas waste reduction planning should focus on production facilities.
- Provincial representatives and ENGOs expressed doubt over the ability of these requirements to impact behaviour. Industry would be required to state that they have "considered" alternatives to their existing processes, but without a significant regulatory rationale for withholding permits there would be few incentives for industry to adjust behaviour.
- The regulations may deliver conflicting messages by requiring generators to comply with waste reduction plan requirements, but not ESM requirements.
- Some stakeholders suggested that the waste reduction requirements would increase the overall administrative burden, and would provide only minimal environmental benefits.
- It was suggested that Environment Canada should maintain a database of international best practices with respect to waste reduction methodologies and technologies, and should require generators to adopt these best practices when feasible and practicable.
11 See CEPA 1999, Section 127 and Schedule 6, Paragraphs 5 and 6.
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