Monday, October 19th 2020, 12:38 pm - Government aiming to transition to a model where producers take responsibility
The Ontario government has released a new proposal to dramatically change how recycling is handled in the province — one that transfers responsibility for dealing with waste to producers.
The concept, called extended producer responsibility (EPR), would replace the current blue box system with the goal of ensuring that producers take on the full financial and operational responsibility for the end-of-life management of what they sell to Ontarians.
"The government's intention is for producers to be responsible for designated products and packaging, including compostable materials," the proposed plan states.
The government also wants to expand the list of materials accepted in the blue box to include items like paper and plastic cups, as well as other single-use plastic items.
You can find the full set of proposed changes here.
The Ford government says its coming changes to Ontario's blue bin recycling rules will save municipalities millions every year. However, environmentalists are warning the government needs to get the changes right. (David Donnelly/CBC)
The City of Toronto, which has indicated its desire to join the program, has said in reports that EPR would mark a "fundamental change" in how it deals with waste and it will also affect what homeowners pay.
It's still unclear how much solid waste bills would change as a result.
Jeff Yurek, Ontario's environment minister, has previously said the change will save municipalities millions of dollars and encourage the industry to minimize and improve packaging. The government pegs the savings to all municipalities at $135 million per year.
Environmental groups, however, have urged the government to get the change right and are already suggesting they have concerns.
"The thinking at this point is really focusing exclusively on residential waste — it's potentially going to see some Ontarians not receiving recycling service, and we have some concerns about the way the recycling targets have been established," Ashley Wallis, the plastics program manager at Environmental Defence, recently told CBC Toronto.
Monday's announcement comes as Canada starts marking waste reduction week.