More Effective Blue Box Program Is Launched

Minister Jeff Yurek announces the Blue Box Program. Pic: Jeff Yurek

TORONTO: Ontario kicked off Waste Reduction Week by unveiling regulations to improve the blue box program.

The enhancements include expanding the items that can be recycled and making producers of products and packaging fully responsible for the waste they create.

“We’re creating a stronger and more effective Blue Box program that actually works,” said Jeff Yurek, Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation & Parks.

“By harnessing the innovation and ingenuity of industry and expanding recycling opportunities for people and businesses across the province, we can divert more waste away from landfills by finding new purposes for products and reinserting them back into the economy.”

The proposed new Blue Box regulation will:
• Standardize and increase the list of materials accepted in the blue box including paper and plastic cups, wraps, foils, trays, and bags, and other single-use items such as stir sticks, straws, cutlery, and plates.

• Transition the costs of the program away from municipal taxpayers by making the producers of products and packaging fully responsible for costs, resulting in an estimated savings of $135 million annually for municipalities.

• Expand blue box services to more communities, such as smaller, rural, and remote communities, including those under 5,000 people.

• Set the highest diversion targets in North America for the various categories of waste producers are expected to recycle such as paper, glass, beverage containers, and rigid and flexible plastic, encouraging innovation such as better product design and the use of new technologies for better environmental outcomes.

The province will expand blue box services to apartment buildings, long-term care homes, schools, and municipal parks in 2026 to provide the people of Ontario with more opportunities to recycle and keep their communities clean.

The Blue Box regulation will be posted for 45 days for public feedback, ending December 2, 2020.