Pollution Probe Encouraged by Government of Ontario’s Announcement to Upgrade Blue Box Program

Toronto, ON – 27 August, 2019 – Pollution Probe supports the Government of Ontario’s commitment to improve Blue Box recycling rates and reduce the generation of plastic waste. 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.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach that makes producers, importers and brands responsible for reducing the environmental impact through the entire lifecycle of a product, from selection of materials to end-of-life.

“EPR is arguably the most effective tool available to reduce waste,” says Christopher Hilkene, CEO of Pollution Probe, the Ontario-based organization that coined the phrase ‘Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle.’ “Pollution Probe is a strong advocate for systems that eliminate waste as the first priority, then ensure that markets exist to reuse and recycle the residuals. EPR does that.”

The Government of Ontario has directed Stewardship Ontario to begin planning to transition the Blue Box Program to full producer responsibility, which will begin in 2023. By December 31, 2025, producers will fully assume responsibility for the Blue Box Program. The transition allows time for the public, stakeholders and Indigenous communities to consult with the government and inform the development of regulations, including a standard list of materials that will be recyclable across the province.

“This is a welcome policy shift, but a lot of effort will be required to get it right,” says Hilkene. “Much of what we know about our current waste diversion rates is guesswork. We need to ensure essential data are gathered and that regular and transparent reporting of progress occurs.”

Pollution Probe looks 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.

About Pollution Probe
Established in 1969, Pollution Probe is a national, non-profit organization that exists to improve the health and wellbeing of Canadians by advancing policy that achieves positive, tangible environmental change. Pollution Probe has a proven track record of working in partnership with industry and government to develop practical solutions to environmental challenges

Media contact:
Melissa De Young
Pollution Probe
Email: mdeyoung@pollutionprobe.org
Phone: (416) 926-1907 x 239

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