Product stewardship is about businesses and organizations assuming responsibility for their designated material after it is discarded by consumers. Financial responsibility for “end-of-life” management of these materials is fully or partially transferred from taxpayers (who typically pay for residential recycling services) to the obligated businesses. The Ontario regulatory framework for this responsibility is detailed here.
Stewardship Ontario has operated the province’s Blue Box curbside recycling program for printed paper and packaging since 2004, collecting fees from stewards and transferring the money to municipalities and First Nation communities that collect and manage the materials. It also operated the Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) Program from 2008 until it ceased operations in September 2021. Information about the MHSW wind up is available here.
As the Blue Box transitions to a new regulatory framework and Stewardship Ontario prepares to wind up the organization after 2025, stewards (referred to as producers under the new Blue Box Regulation) will temporarily have obligations to both Stewardship Ontario and the Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority.