Municipalities across Ontario will be getting out of the recycling business as the Progressive Conservative government shifts the cost of the Blue Box program onto producers.

According to Environment Minister Jeff Yurek, producers will be “fully responsible” for the blue box services by Dec. 31, 2025, including picking up recyclable materials from residences.

Yurek promised that home owners and renters will see “no disruption” in their blue box services or pick-up frequency during the transition – citing that as a primary reason behind the four-year shift.

”You can’t change this overnight,” Yurek said at a news conference held in North York.

The minister also stresses that the government will still regulate the system giving the province oversight and the ability to set and enforce targets for waste management.

“I don’t know why the producers would move away from systems that are working,” Yurek said.

The province’s move has already received the endorsement from the City of Toronto which expects to save millions of dollars as a result of the switch.

In 2017, the total cost of Toronto’s Blue Bin program came in at $70 million. However, after selling recyclables and receiving rebates from producers that number was whittled down to $25 million.

Yurek said taxpayers province-wide will be off the hook for recycling packaging material.

“This is now incentivizing the producers of the waste to change their packaging,” Yurek said. “We’re not making the people of Ontario pay for this system.”

Currently 240 municipalities are responsible for curbside pick-up and the costs of recycling, with producers compensating cities and regions for roughly half of the total cost. Based on recycling figures from 2017, the province says municipalities will be able to save between $125 million to $175 million annually.

The province says once producers are made fully responsible they’ll be able to create a standard list of materials included in the bin, expand the service to parks and public spaces and have full management of the system.