Bottled Water and Packaging Waste: Policy Options and Instruments for Ontario
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Ontarians are producing more waste per capita than previous generations and consuming more bottled water. Using the product policy quadrangle developed by Oosternhuis (1996), the research examines four components of Ontario bottled water packaging policy— policy objectives, policy instruments, product groups and actors. Interviews with Ontario experts reveal stakeholder communication and Extended Producer Responsibility can promote packaging minimization. There was no agreement about whether Ontario has a waste policy framework to support bottled water waste reduction, reuse and recycling. Stakeholders did agree that a policy framework can help to promote packaging minimization. The discussion will examine the following: various concepts to support zero waste, eco-labelling, policy objectives, enforcement, use of language, focus on financial obligations, deposit-return systems, refillable containers, bottle standardization, waste minimization, how waste is measured, an evaluation of the waste hierarchy, reporting waste reduction and reuse, learning from history and alternative methods of encouraging the consumption of municipal water. The research recommends these changes be implemented with the development of the new Waste Diversion Act. The research recommends that Ontario implement Integrated Product Policy and Extended Producer Responsibility to support packaging minimization.