Ontario has at last finalized plans to revamp its blue box recycling services across the province.
Last week, Ontario’s Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said that existing blue box programs would be consolidated into one standard recycling program across 250 municipalities. The move gives more communities access to recycling and will shift the tab from communities to product producers, saving an estimated $156M as a result.
With the cost now transferred to product producers, the hope is that this will incentivize a shift to more planet-friendly packaging.
Once the plan rolls out from 2023 to 2025, the result will be a standardization of what people can put in their blue boxes in each municipality – a departure from the existing way, which sees items differ between cities.
With the uniform new recycling bins, single-use products and packaging, like plastic cups, stir sticks, straws, and cutlery will be accepted.
With the change, all of the province’s communities will finally have access to blue box programs by 2026, aside from those on the Far North. There are also plans in the works to expand blue box service to apartment buildings, some long-term care homes, retirement homes, and schools. Furthermore, we’ll see more public recycling bins pop up in playgrounds, green space, and transit stations.
While it sounds great in theory, the change isn’t without its critics. Environmental organizations have pushed back at the plan, claiming it leaves some Ontarians behind and focuses too much on residential waste. They also slammed the province for taking too long to roll out the plan.
The program will launch in 2023 in Toronto, London, Kenora, and the Town of Hawkesbury.