Ontario Blue Box Program to transition to full producer responsibility

Published August 19, 2019

The Ontario government has unveiled plans to transition the costs of the province’s Blue Box Program away from municipal taxpayers by making the producers of products and packaging fully responsible.

A statement was released on Aug. 15 announcing that the provincial government is “moving forward immediately by issuing direction to Stewardship Ontario outlining the next steps and timelines to transitioning the program to producer responsibility starting in 2023.”

The statement went on to say: “Over the coming year, Ontario will develop and consult on regulations to support the new producer responsibility framework for the Blue Box Program. Once producer responsibility is fully in place, recycling across the province will be more consistent, with a standard list of materials that can be recycled.”

What will this mean for business operators?

Based on recommendations from Special Advisor David Lindsay’s report on Recycling and Plastic Waste, the Blue Box Program will take a phased approach to transitioning toward producer responsibility.

The transition will ultimately make producers of product and packaging fully responsible to manage the collection, processing and marketing of materials collected in the Blue Box Program, as well as the costs to manage the system.

The transition’s phased approach is intended to ensure time to consult with the public, stakeholders and Indigenous communities, while providing a clear road map for municipalities and time for producers to engage service providers.

The first group of municipalities or First Nations will transfer responsibility of their programs to producers starting Jan. 1, 2023. By Dec. 31, 2025, producers will be fully responsible for providing blue box services province-wide.

Raising the voice of foodservice

Starting this fall, the Ontario government will begin early engagement with a broad range of stakeholders, including the municipal and industry stakeholder working group that took part in Mr. Lindsay’s previous mediation sessions, to continue thorough consultations and facilitate the Blue Box Program’s transition to producer responsibility.

Restaurants Canada looks forward to taking part in these sessions and building on previous feedback around this issue, including a submission provided in response to the province’s recent discussion paper on reducing litter and waste.

If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with James Rilett, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada, at jrilett@restaurantscanada.org or 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4241.

Marlee Wasser

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