Toronto 'fully supports' provincial overhaul of blue bin program
Published Thursday, August 8, 2019 3:23PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 8, 2019 3:41PM EDT
An upcoming overhaul of Ontario’s blue box program by the Progressive Conservative government is getting the thumbs-up from the City of Toronto.
Annette Synowiec, the Director of Policy with the Solid Waste Management department, says the city “fully supports” shifting the costs and operation of the program onto producers of packaged material—noting that Toronto stands to save millions and homeowners will benefit from standardization.
“The lack of consistency around what is and isn't included in the blue bin from one jurisdiction to another is a major source of confusion for people,” Synowiec told CTV News Toronto in an email.
“A standardized list will help people better participate in recycling programs wherever they are in the province.”
Environment Minister Jeff Yurek revealed Wednesday that the government will change the decades-old recycling program, shifting the responsibility of funding and managing the system onto producers over the next six years.
“Those using the blue box program today won’t see any change over the transition,” Yurek told reporters.
“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.”
Municipalities, however, have yet to determine exactly how the new system will affect them. Cities or regions cover the costs of curbside pickup and are partially reimbursed by Stewardship Ontario, the current program manager.
Synowiec says the new system could involve producers taking over the process entirely or hiring the city to operate the program at a reduced cost to taxpayers.
“In either scenario, it would result in come cost-savings for the city.”
Synowiec says in 2017, the gross cost of running Toronto’s blue bin program came in at $70 million.
The city was able to recoup some of those costs by selling recyclables for $20 million and receiving rebates from Stewardship Ontario – paid by producers – to the tune of $25 million, leaving the city with around $25 million in net costs.
The estimates savings once the new system is implemented has yet to be calculated.