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Program Diversion Performance

This chart shows the quantity of Blue Box materials collected annually in Ontario by the current Blue Box Program that was approved by the provincial government in 2003. Our recovery rates are expressed as a percentage of the quantity of materials generated into the marketplace by industry stewards. Performance is also shown in relation to the 2004 target approved by the provincial government (50 per cent, rising to 60 per cent in 2008).

Blue Box Performance

The Blue Box Program relies on the collection efforts of Ontario municipalities to collect and divert printed paper and packaging from the waste stream. Municipalities are paid 50% of the costs incurred under the Blue Box Program operating at best practices as set out in the Blue Box Program Plan.

Stewardship Ontario continues to exceed the 60% government-mandated recycling target, and saw a year-over-year increase in the general recycling rate from 62.8% to 65.8%. Stewardship Ontario attributes the increase largely to a 3.8% decline in the total amount of tonnes generated. In other words, since the recycling rate is calculated by dividing generated tonnes by recovered tonnes, a drop in the generated tonnes (i.e., smaller denominator) has resulted in a higher proportion of those tonnes being recycled. The drop in generated/supplied tonnes is likely due to stewards either switching to lighter or less materials and/or to a decline in consumer purchasing.

While recycled tonnes showed moderate growth versus 2012, the recycled kilograms per capita declined marginally. This is the result of both population growth and the reduction of generated/supplied tonnes. All else being equal, light weighting will result in a downward trend of recycled kilograms per capita over time.

Program financial performance

The overall net cost of the Blue Box recycling system increased by 1.5% or $3.6M from 2012 to 2013; however, the net cost per capita remained flat. The primary reasons for this slight increase are:

  1. Municipal costs increased driven by higher processing rates and more quantities of higher cost materials being processed.
  2. At the same time material revenues received by municipalities decreased by 1.4% or $1.25M. The municipalities attribute this decrease to unfavourable commodity markets but it may also be due to varying commodity revenue sharing arrangements municipalities negotiate with their processors.

Program Cost

The cost of operating the Blue Box Program is shared between stewards and municipalities.

All but a few cents of every dollar we collect from our stewards is channelled directly to recycling programs:

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