In a letter to stakeholders, Charles O’Hara, director at the Resource Recovery Policy Branch, Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks, explained the government’s plan to transition the costs of the Blue Box Program to the producers of packaging and products.

Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced the next steps for transitioning the costs of the Blue Box Program away from municipal taxpayers to make the producers of products and packaging fully responsible.

The Blue Box Program has been providing Ontarians with a convenient option for collecting and recycling printed paper and packaging for many years. In recent years, however, it has become apparent that the growing challenges in delivering and funding the program must be addressed.

As a result, the province has decided to improve Ontario’s Blue Box services. The transition to producer responsibility will provide relief for taxpayers and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. It will also ensure Ontarians’ experience with and access to existing Blue Box services will not be negatively impacted and that there are province-wide services available, including for Northern, rural and Indigenous communities.

Making producers responsible for the delivery of Ontario’s Blue Box Program will ensure that the Blue Box remains viable over the long term and remains at the heart of residential recycling in Ontario.

Based on recommendations from Special Advisor David Lindsay’s report on Recycling and Plastic Waste, Blue Box services will transition to producer responsibility in phases over a three-year period. This approach will provide time for consulting with the public, stakeholders and Indigenous communities, while providing certainty for municipalities and adequate time for producers to engage service providers. The first group of municipalities or First Nations will transfer responsibility of their programs to producers starting January 1, 2023. By December 31, 2025, producers will be fully responsible for providing Blue Box services province-wide.

As part of transitioning the Blue Box to producer responsibility, Minister Yurek has directed Stewardship Ontario to develop a plan pursuant to section 14 of the Waste Diversion Transition Act, which will outline how the current program would be operated during the three-year transition period. Stewardship Ontario must submit the plan to the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority no later than June 30, 2020. It is expected that the plan will be approved by December 31, 2020. To view the direction letter, visit the Authority’s website at https://rpra.ca/blue-box-transition/.

The Blue Box Program will continue to be convenient and accessible for the people of Ontario. Residents who currently receive municipal Blue Box services will continue to receive the same services throughout the transition period. Once producers are fully responsible for the program, Ontarians will experience the same or improved access to Blue Box services across the province.

Transitioning the Blue Box Program to producer responsibility will be a multi-stage process that will involve many opportunities for stakeholder, Indigenous and public input. I look forward to working with you in the future throughout the transition process.

Sincerely,
Charles O’Hara
Director, Resource Recovery Policy Branch
Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks

Source: RPRA