Industrial and manufacturing processes are the primary generators of hazardous wastes. They can, however, also be generated by the commercial and institutional sectors, and by households. Hazardous wastes include a broad range of materials such as manufacturing residues (e.g. waste acids, contaminated sludges and complex chemicals), biomedical wastes from hospitals, spent photo finishing chemicals, waste pesticides, PCBs, motor oil, unused cleaning products from homes and discarded batteries. These wastes require special handling to reduce adverse effects to human health and the environment.
Ontario has a comprehensive legislative and regulatory framework to ensure that hazardous wastes are managed in an environmentally safe manner. Through the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and accompanying regulations, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has established a cradle to grave management system, which includes the systematic control of collection, storage, transportation, treatment, recovery and disposal of this waste.
The Hazardous Waste Information Network (HWIN) is a web-based system that allows generators, carriers, and receivers to register their activities with the Ministry of the Environment online. HWIN also enables users to pay the generator registration fee and to create and process electronic manifests over the web.