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Mandatory Recycling: Ontario, Canada


The Province of Ontario requires businesses and apartment buildings to recycle specific materials based on the type of business.

Action(s) Taken

  • Recycling Policies

Who's Affected

  • Businesses
  • Apartments



Year Enacted


Overview of Recycling Requirements

The Province of Ontario requires businesses and apartment buildings to recycle specific materials based on the type of business.

The requirements apply to:

  • Retail establishments and office buildings within municipalities containing at least 5,000 people and with a floor area of at least 10,000 square meters
  • Construction and demolition projects with a total floor area of at least 2,000 square meters
  • Apartment buildings that contain six or more dwelling units
  • Restaurants, hotels and motels containing more than 75 units
  • Public hospitals and educational institutions with more than a 350-person enrollment
  • Large manufacturing establishments in which employees worked over 16,000 hours in a calendar month.

Retail establishments, office buildings, restaurants, hotels and motels, hospitals, educational institutions, and large manufacturing establishments are required to recycle aluminum, steel, and glass food or beverage items, and corrugated cardboard, office paper and newsprint.

Large manufacturing establishments are also required to recycle HDPE jugs, pails, crates, totes and drums; polyethylene film; polystyrene trays, reels, and spools; and untreated wood.

Construction and demolition projects must recycle brick, cement, concrete, cardboard, drywall, steel and untreated wood.

Apartments must source separate aluminum, steel, and glass food or beverage items, PET plastic bottles and other materials collected through the municipal curbside recycling program (blue box).

Restaurants, hotels and motels are also required to recycle PET plastic bottles.


The regulation was part of the provincial effort to reach 60% recycling. These sectors were recognized as the largest portion of the waste stream.

All affected sectors except apartments are required to conduct waste audits and then develop a waste reduction plan, put it into action and update it annually. The waste audit and plan must prioritize waste reduction first, reusing materials second, and then recycling. The plan must also include information on communicating the plan and waste reduction and recovery programs to employees, tenants and users.

Buildings are required to have collection containers that are adequately sized and conveniently located. Employees should be trained on how to source separate materials and use the collection systems, and feedback should be given to users to encourage program participation.


Source Separation Laws in Ontario

Ontario Mandatory Recycling Guide

Waste Audits and Waste Reduction Work Plans, Ontario

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