Ontario's Blue Box program is getting a complete overhaul. The province is putting the multi-million dollar cost that municipalities have been paying onto producers of packaged goods, CTV Toronto reports.
Currently, municipalities are splitting the bill for Stewardship Ontario's Blue Box recycling program.
Doug Ford's PC's government says shifting the price onto producers of packaged goods will mean "estimated savings of $135 million annually for municipalities."
Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek says that the government is creating a "stronger and more effective Blue Box program that actually works."
The new regulation will include the following:
- 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.
Ford mentioned that this new program will "divert more waste away from landfills by finding new purposes for products and reinserting them back into the economy."
The Ontario government also says that the Blue Box program will be expanded to rural areas and remote communities with hopes of future expansion into apartment buildings, schools, long-term care homes and parks.