Ontario’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and its impact on waste diversion rates: Case study of the Regional Municipality of Durham
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Two Ontario provincial acts with sustainability as their primary objective have contradictory environmental strategies. Urban intensification legislation, the Places to Grow Act and its companion document the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (the Growth Plan) dictate higher density levels for all new residential development and considered a positive approach to build complete and sustainable urban development. The Waste Free Ontario Act (replacing the Waste Diversion Act), focuses on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change through a circular economy, striving to recover resources, and manage and reduce waste. Higher density environments create challenges for residents to capture and manage waste. A case study of Durham Region, a community within the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) and subject to the provisions of the Growth Plan was completed to assess if density levels impacted this Region’s waste diversion goals; determine if new residential density designs create barriers to diversion; and, determine what factors at pre-construction could influence participation in curbside collection and subsequently influence diversion levels of the Region. Research found although municipal waste service is available, density designs on private roads may not meet municipal guidelines. Residential waste managed under the industrial commercial and institutional (IC&I) sector under a private waste contract is shipped to landfills in Canada and the United States. Residential waste created in new developments, not managed municipally, doesn’t impact municipal diversion rates because IC&I rates and the greenhouse gas emissions produced are not reflected within municipal reports.