Companies that make and market chemical products (manufacturers and first importers) such as paint, oil filters, batteries, and antifreeze have until July 1, 2008 to adhere to Ontario’s new regulations laid out in the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program Plan. The MHSW Plan, approved in February 2008 by the Ontario Minister for the Environment, is designed to reduce environmental degradation caused by hazardous waste disposal in municipalities. In its first year, it aims to recover 23,000 tonnes of special waste materials. The plan was developed by industry stewards and will now be implemented by Stewardship Ontario on behalf of Waste Diversion Ontario. “The industries affected by the MHSW program are taking stewardship responsibility for their products and packaging and through our 3Rs diversion activities, we’ll be reducing the environmental footprint of these products. That’s something we can all feel good about,” said Jim Quick, chair of Stewardship Ontario’s MHSW program planning committee. Under the MHSW program, obligated industry stewards must adhere to payment of fees regulations. A MHSM steward is an organization which is either the Brand Owner or First Importer into Ontario of products that result in the generation of the following phase one Municipal Hazardous or Special Wastes: Paints and coatings, and containers in which they are contained; solvent, and containers in which they are contained; oil filters, after they have been used for their intended purpose; containers that have a capacity of 30 litres or less and that were manufactured and used for the purpose of containing lubricating oil; single use dry cell batteries; antifreeze, and containers in which they are contained; and pressurized containers such as propane tanks and cylinders. Following the new guidelines, industry will be financially responsible for about 80% of the program cost while municipalities will cover the balance. The cost to industry in the first year is expected to be $28 million. “Many automotive aftermarket companies will be affected by the MHSW Program Plan. It provides an opportunity for our industry to play an active role in protecting the environment. Besides helping companies find the balance between good business and civic responsibility, the program allows them to work more closely with municipalities and consumers towards a common goal,” says Marc Brazeau, president of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada. The plan will be fully implemented on July 1st, 2008.