Statement from environmental and civil society groups on Ontario’s draft Blue Box regulation announcement

Statement from Environmental Defence, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Citizens’ Network on Waste Management, Health and Environment Justice Support, Recycling Council of Ontario, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Waste Watch Ottawa.

Toronto, Ont.— The best and most important opportunities to improve recycling are missing from Ontario’s draft Blue Box regulation. While shifting the cost of the Blue Box program to producers is vital, this regulation does little more than that. Its narrow scope, low targets, and long transition period will mean millions of more tonnes of single-use products and packaging ending up in Ontario parks, lakes, landfills, and incinerators—an outcome that is out of step with public sentiment and the province’s own commitment to reducing litter and waste.

As drafted, the proposed regulation locks Ontario into years of poor performance. Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise, as the province has underdelivered on every other waste regulation it has passed to date and excluded environmental and civil society groups from consultations on the proposed regulation.

The province needs to expand this proposed regulation—not just shift the costs of the existing, stalled Blue Box program to producers.

At a minimum, Ontario needs to:

  1. Include plastics and packaging that are created by the business and industrial sectors, which are responsible for nearly two-thirds of Ontario’s waste generation and disposal;
  2. Set high and detailed diversion targets to ensure producers can’t ignore the hardest-to-recycle materials and to encourage reduction and redesign;
  3. Include specific recycling standards to make sure that materials are going to the highest and most valuable uses, and are free from toxic chemicals and additives;
  4. Include mechanisms to prevent toxic substances from contaminating recycling systems and recycled materials; and
  5. Ensure that comprehensive and standardized recycling is available for all Ontarians, no matter where they live, work, and play.

This is a joint statement from the following groups: Environmental Defence, Canadian Environmental Law Association, Citizens’ Network on Waste Management,
Health and Environment Justice Support, Recycling Council of Ontario, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and Waste Watch Ottawa.

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For more information or interview requests, please contact:

Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence Canada, 905-330-0172 (cell), jmayville@environmentaldefence.ca
Jo-Anne St. Godard, Recycling Council of Ontario, 905-586-5866, joanne@rco.on.ca
Emily Alfred, Toronto Environmental Alliance, 416-543-1542, emily@torontoenvironment.org
Fe de Leon, Canadian Environmental Law Association, 416-960-2284 ext 7223; 416-317-1063 (cell), deleonf@cela.ca
John Jackson, Citizens’ Network on Waste Management, 519-744-7503, jjackson@web.ca
Olga Speranskaya, Health and Environment Justice Support, 613-252-9839, olga.speranskaya@hej-support.org
Duncan Bury, Waste Watch Ottawa, 613-406-8262 (cell), la.db@sympatico.ca