Ontario cities no longer on the hook for million-dollar recycling program
TORONTO -- Ontario will be overhauling the province’s Blue Box program, shifting the multi-million dollar cost from municipalities to the producers of packaged materials.
The Progressive Conservative government released details on the new regulations Monday morning, saying that it will result in an “estimated savings of $135 million annually for municipalities.”
The current Blue Box program is managed by the Stewardship Ontario and the cost is split among cities who use it.
Instead of cities footing the bill for the recycling program, the government hopes to make the product’s producers fully responsible for the costs.
“We're creating a stronger and more effective Blue Box program that actually works," Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said in a news release.
"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 province will also expand the Blue Box program so that smaller, rural and remote communities can have access.
By 2026, the province hopes to expand the program further to include apartment buildings, long-term care homes, schools and municipal parks.
Last year, Yurek said that the province hopes to make changes to blue box services by Dec. 31, 2025. He also said that blue box users won’t notice a change during the transition
“We don’t want people to feel any difference in what they’re doing with the blue box other than they’re going to be able to put more stuff into the blue box to be recycled,” he said at the time.
The City of Toronto spent about $71.5 million on the Blue Box program in 2019, although after collecting some rebates by Stewardship Ontario and the sale of recyclables, that number decreased to about $37,5 million in net costs.