The province is opting to take the advice of one of their special advisors.
In a news release sent out by the province on Thursday, Jeff Yurek, minister of the environment, conservation and parks, and Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing, announced that Ontario’s Blue Box Program will transition to producer responsibility in phases over a three-year period starting January 1, 2023.
By December 31, 2025, producers will be fully responsible for providing blue box services province-wide.
"Transitioning the Blue Box Program to full producer responsibility will promote innovation and increase Ontario's recycling rates while saving taxpayers money," said Minister Yurek. "This shift is a big step towards diverting waste, addressing plastic pollution and creating a new recycling economy that everyone can be proud of in Ontario."
The County of Simcoe and the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia were all consulted for a report on recycling by provincial special advisor David Lindsay earlier this year. For our full story on the consultation process and the suggestions made by local municipalities, click here.
"Our government is supporting municipalities by moving to put accountability for recycling where it belongs – on the companies who make the products," said Clark during the announcement.
In late 2016, Ontario proclaimed the Waste Free Ontario Act, comprising the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act and the Waste Diversion Transition Act.
At the heart of the legislation was the idea that producers should be responsible for the end-of-life management of their products and packaging.
Municipalities across Ontario are currently paying about $130 million per year for blue box recycling; that comes directly from the taxpayers' pockets.
Over the coming year, the province will develop and consult on regulations to support the new producer responsibility framework for the Blue Box Program. Once producer responsibility is fully in place, recycling across the province will be more consistent with a standard list of materials that can be recycled.
Starting this fall, Ontario will begin early engagement with stakeholders, including the municipal and industry stakeholder working group that took part in Lindsay's previous mediation sessions, to continue thorough consultations and facilitate the Blue Box Program's transition to producer responsibility.