On August 14th, the Ontario Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Chris Ballard issued a letter directing Stewardship Ontario and the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (the Authority) to prepare an amended Blue Box Program Plan (a-BBPP) by February 15, 2018. The amended Plan will transition the program from its current shared cost model to full producer responsibility pursuant to s.13 of the Waste Diversion Transition Act (WDTA). As the letter states, this transition, “will set the stage for a second phase of transition that will result in individual producer responsibility under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 (RRCEA)”. Stewardship Ontario’s proposal for amended plan will be developed jointly with RPRA in consultation with stewards, municipalities and other key stakeholders.
Stewardship Ontario’s Board supports the Minister’s request for an amended plan that reflects those elements that stewards have been advocating for some time, such as:
- A transition from the current shared responsibility model to full EPR is achieved in a thoughtful, orderly and step-wise way that ensures no disruption to residential recycling services;
- The transfer of operational control over recycling decisions occurs as producers’ financial obligations increase;
- A consistent recycling experience is provided for all Ontario residents by establishing a broad and uniform set of paper products and packaging to be collected across the province.
The Minister’s letter is broadly consistent with the principles expressed by the Stewardship Ontario Board in its Charter of Support for an Orderly transition to Full Producer Responsibility for Paper Products and Packaging (March 2017) as well as the objectives of the Accord reached between municipalities and the Stewardship Ontario Board (the Minister’s response can be found here).
In addition to setting out the agreed terms of the transition between municipalities and producers in the letter, the Minister has also provided further direction under a number of broad categories in an Addendum. This direction relates primarily to:
- Program Performance: The amended Plan requires a 75% recovery rate for PPP as well as a proposal for material-specific targets.
- Waste Reduction: SO has been directed to develop means to discourage the use of problematic materials and/or to provide for increased diversion at the end-of-life.
- Continuous Improvement: SO has been asked to provide consideration and recommendations for extending recycling services to multi-family buildings and public spaces.
Engagement with Stakeholders on Program Plan Development
The Minister’s letter also requests that Stewardship Ontario and the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) jointly develop a communications and issue management plan that sets out how Stewardship Ontario will engage and communicate with stewards, municipalities and other affected stakeholders. Stewardship Ontario will be reaching out to steward industry associations and municipalities and other key parties in coming weeks and months.
August 15, 2017 – Minister Directs Development of an Amended Blue Box Program Plan
September 19, 2017 – Invitation to October Steward Events
August 25, 2017: Trade Associations Q&A Session