Ontario restaurants may be forced to recycle all of their organic food waste

October 02 2017

Households and restaurants alike based in Ontario could soon be banned from throwing organic food waste into their trash.

Government officials in Ontario are considering introducing new rules on the disposal of organic waste, which would have a significant impact on the foodservice industry.

Currently, statistics indicate that 3.7 million tonnes of organic waste are thrown away in Ontario alone each year. However, only around one-quarter of this is recycled at present - something the local government wants to see changed.

It is therefore introducing the new Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario, which aims to ensure any organic waste from industries like the foodservice and agricultural sectors is recovered and reused, before being recycled once again.

The foodservice industry in particular needs to improve in this area, as only one-quarter of its organic waste is currently diverted. In comparison, households in Ontario already recycle more than 50 per cent of their organic food waste.

Organic waste consultant Paul van der Werf explained that a goal of zero organic waste may seem like a far-off inspiration, but that Ontarians should work together to decide if that's something they really want their area to achieve.

"If we do, then we need to put some pretty strong measures in place to change what we're presently doing and change our behaviours," he stated.

"If we kept the status quo in our system and just tinkered a little bit, would we get to zero waste? No, not in a million years."

With this in mind, the Ontario environment minister Chris Ballard is calling for new laws on organic food waste disposal to make both households and foodservice businesses less wasteful and significantly more environmentally-friendly.

Similar measures have already been introduced in some parts of Canada: for example, almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of Toronto residents can now have their organic waste privately collected for recycling.

Meanwhile, Kingston is held up as an example of best practice in this area with specialist disposal bins given to the majority of its residents to ensure they are separating their organic waste ready for collection by recycling experts.