The Ontario government is considering the value of the province’s blue box recycling program after David Lindsay, appointed in June as a special advisor on the management of recycling and plastics, gave his report to Environment Minister Jeff Yurek on Tuesday after six weeks of research and meetings on the issue.
Lindsay’s report notes that recycling rates have stalled for 15 years and up to 30 percent of what is put into blue boxes is sent to landfill. No uniform standards currently exist for blue box contents, and Yurek says that is a problem. “Over 240 municipalities have their own separate lists of accepted recyclable materials, which affects cost savings and contamination,” Yurek said. “Program costs are expected to increase by approximately $10 million per year after 2019.”
Overhauling the program could take years but Yurek believes there will be cost savings for municipalities. “Hopefully by the end of the day we create a new economy of recycled products here in Ontario because of the program that’s going to be put in place.”
The recycling costs currently incurred by cities and towns will eventually be borne by producers, says Yurek. “The cost of the program will be transferred over to the producers of the waste, the businesses and industries creating the waste they will be the ones who will be paying for the recycling program when this change occurs.”
In an interview with Global News, Emily Alfred with the Toronto Environmental Alliance said the organization is monitoring how the province moves forward. “We will be watching closely,” she said.