Prov­ince: Con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions to de­cide for­mat of new On­tario blue box pro­gram

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Local - KRIS DUBÉ

How waste pro­duc­ers will pay their full share of costs for the prov­ince’s blue box pro­gram in 2023 is one of a num­ber of fac­tors still to be de­ter­mined.

This will take place dur­ing con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions lead­ing up to the changes, Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment, Con­ser­va­tion and Parks spokesper­son Lind­say David­son said in a state­ment.

This month the On­tario gov­ern­ment an­nounced plans to do away with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and pro­duc­ers split­ting the fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity of the pro­gram, say­ing blue box costs are ex­pected to in­crease by ap­prox­i­mately $10 mil­lion a year af­ter 2019 un­der the cur­rent model.

The best way to set and mea­sure di­ver­sion tar­gets, such as by weight or vol­ume, will be cal­cu­lated dur­ing the process.

“Un­der the pro­ducer re­spon­si­bil­ity model, each pro­ducer will have col­lec­tion and re­cy­cling re­quire­ments re­lated to the amount of pack­ag­ing they sup­ply into On­tario. Pro­duc­ers will be able to meet their re­quire­ments by work­ing to­gether in col­lec­tive mod­els, also re­ferred to as pro­ducer re­spon­si­bil­ity or­ga­ni­za­tions,” said David­son in an email.

Sub­ject to reg­u­la­tion, the full re­spon­si­bil­ity would mean that pro­duc­ers would be fully ob­li­gated for the costs of col­lect­ing and re­cy­cling ma­te­ri­als, rather than shar­ing these costs with mu­nic­i­pal tax­pay­ers, she ex­plained.

“On­tario will de­velop and con­sult on reg­u­la­tions over the com­ing year, to sup­port the new pro­ducer re­spon­si­bil­ity frame­work for the blue box ma­te­ri­als in a way that holds pro­duc­ers ac­count­able while not over bur­den­ing the in­no­va­tion and good work they can do to help re­cy­cle as much as pos­si­ble,” wrote David­son.

The first group of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties or First Na­tions will trans­fer re­spon­si­bil­ity of their blue box pro­grams to pro­duc­ers start­ing Jan. 1, 2023, said the prov­ince.

By Dec. 31, 2025, pro­duc­ers will be fully re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing blue box ser­vices across the prov­ince, she said.

“We will con­tinue to look to pro­duc­ers, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties for their in­put to en­sure the im­proved blue box is af­ford­able for pro­duc­ers and right for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties,” reads the re­cent state­ment from the prov­ince.

Dur­ing tran­si­tion, the prov­ince says pro­gram “will con­tinue to be con­ve­nient and ac­ces­si­ble for the peo­ple of On­tario.”

“Once pro­duc­ers are fully re­spon­si­ble for the pro­gram, On­tar­i­ans will ex­pe­ri­ence the same or im­proved ac­cess to blue box ser­vices across On­tario.”

Based on 2017 costs, once full pro­ducer re­spon­si­bil­ity is in ef­fect, On­tario’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties will save up to $175 mil­lion an­nu­ally, ac­cord­ing to the prov­ince.

MIKE ZETTEL TORSTAR FILE PHOTO

Changes are com­ing to On­tario’s Blue Box pro­gram.

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