Ontario Developing a Stronger, More Effective Blue Box Program

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Province consulting on plan to increase recycling in more communities and help divert more waste from landfills

October 19, 2020

Environment, Conservation and Parks

TORONTO — Ontario is kicking off Waste Reduction Week by unveiling regulations to improve the blue box program. The enhancements include expanding the items that can be recycled and making producers of products and packaging fully responsible for the waste they create.

"We're creating a stronger and more effective Blue Box program that actually works," said Minister Yurek. "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 proposed new Blue Box regulation will:

  • Standardize and increase the list of materials accepted in the blue box including paper and plastic cups, wraps, foils, trays, and bags and other single use items such as stir sticks, straws, cutlery and plates.
  • Transition the costs of the program away from municipal taxpayers by making the producers of products and packaging fully responsible for costs, resulting in an estimated savings of $135 million annually for municipalities.
  • Expand blue box services to more communities, such as smaller, rural and remote communities, including those under 5,000 people.
  • Set the highest diversion targets in North America for the various categories of waste producers are expected to recycle such as paper, glass, beverage containers and rigid and flexible plastic, encouraging innovation such as better product design and the use of new technologies for better environmental outcomes.

The province will also expand blue box services to facilities such as apartment buildings, long-term care homes, schools and municipal parks in 2026 to provide the people of Ontario with more opportunities to recycle and keep their communities clean.

The draft Blue Box regulation will be posted for 45 days for public feedback, ending December 2, 2020.

Reducing plastic waste and litter and making producers responsible for managing the full life-cycle of their products is a key part of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan commitment to balance a healthy economy, a healthy environment and keep Ontario clean and beautiful.

Quick Facts

  • The proposed framework ensures that programs already having a positive impact on the environment, like the Beer Store’s deposit return program, can continue under the new producer responsibility model.
  • Waste Reduction Week runs from October 19-25 to promote environmental stewardship and increase opportunities for Ontarians to participate in efforts to reduce waste.


"The Ontario Waste Management Association supports the Ontario government’s commitment to strengthen the Blue Box recycling program and set some of the highest waste diversion targets in North America. Shifting funding responsibility of the Blue Box to producers will create a catalyst to improve Ontario’s recycling performance. This is not only good for the environment, it is good for the economy, and will encourage investment, job creation and innovation in the recycling and resource recovery sector."

- Mike Chopowick 
CEO, Ontario Waste Management Association

"The Canadian Beverage Association welcomes the government's proposed beverage container diversion targets of 75 per cent by 2026 and 80 per cent by 2030. Our sector plans to build on the success of the Blue Box collection system and meet these targets by introducing a new, comprehensive beverage container recycling program with convenient public space recycling at parks, public buildings and special events."

- Jim Goetz 
President, Canadian Beverage Association

"As one of Canada’s leading beverage companies, Keurig Dr Pepper Canada supports the Ontario Government’s policy to expand and improve the recycling system, by ensuring items like recyclable coffee pods will be included. Our company remains steadfastly committed to reducing packaging waste. We look forward to continuing to work with the government and municipalities across the province to build a more sustainable Ontario for generations to come."

- Stéphane Glorieux 
President, Keurig Dr Pepper Canada

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