Pollution Probe works across sectors to engage stakeholders and develop practical pathways towards a circular economy in order to cut down on waste and maximize both environmental and economic benefits.


The iconic phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle was developed by Pollution Probe in the early 1970s. Initially, the founding members used ‘Reject, Re-use, Recycle,’ but decided that ‘Reject’ sounded too harsh. They replaced it with ‘Reduce,’ creating a slogan and rallying call that endures worldwide over 50 years later.

The Circular Economy

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, aunched jointly with the Council of the Great Lakes Region, is a first-of-its-kind initiative, using innovative Seabin and LittaTrap™ technology to quickly capture and remove plastics and other litter at marinas from Lake Ontario to Lake Superior and everywhere in between. Through research, collaboration, outreach and education, the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup is working to identify sources of litter entering our waterways and how government, industry, and consumers can work together to reduce, reuse and recycle material waste.

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The Ontario Materials Marketplace

Millions of tonnes of waste are generated each year across Canada, much of which is sent to landfill or incinerated. The Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan and Canada’s zero-waste strategies emphasize material value recovery and competitive and sustainable end-markets as priorities for waste management. Pollution Probe is supporting the Council of the Great Lakes Region in piloting the Ontario Materials Marketplace, which aims to create demand for hard-to-recycle material, including plastic products, to help address the problem and move Ontario one step closer to a circular economy.

The Great Lakes Plastics Forum

The Great Lakes Plastics Forum sought to address issues related to plastic waste and improper disposal of plastics in the Great Lakes Region, with a focus on Ontario and Canada. Hosted by Pollution Probe, the Council of the Great Lakes Region and the Clean Water Foundation, the forum convened over 50 leading Canadian subject-matter experts from government, industry, not-for-profit organizations and academia. The forum provided a platform for the exchange of ideas around how best to work together to develop innovative and practical solutions to issues related to plastic waste and to set the stage for more focused, cross-border dialogue related to a circular economy and materials marketplace in the binational Great Lakes Region.

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Ontario's Blue Box Program

Ontario’s pioneering 1986 Blue Box Recycling initiative was the result of many years of research, advocacy and activism, in which Pollution Probe played a major role, helping develop the very concept of broad-scale recycling. Pollution Probe has strongly advocated for approaches that reduce environmental impact through the entire lifecycle of a product, from selection of materials to end-of-life. In 2020, The Hon. Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and the Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, promised to transition the Blue Box Program to full Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to help taxpayers save money, increase recycling rates and promote innovation. We look forward to working with Minister Yurek, the Government of Ontario and industry stakeholders on developing the necessary measures to ensure successful implementation of the new Blue Box Program.

Contact the Team

Pollution Probe’s Circular Economy program work is made possible in large part due to the generous support of individuals and organizations who share our values. We gratefully recognize the contributions of:

Peterborough K.M. Hunter
Charitable Foundation

Brian and Joannah Lawson Family Foundation

Catherine & Maxwell Meighen Foundation

The Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph

Jackman Foundation

Takla Foundation

Douglas and Margaret Derry Foundation

Partners and Sponsors
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