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Blue Box program needs refresh

(Cartoon by Lance Goosen)

If you were to stop the average person on the street and ask them what goes in their blue box, there is a good chance they won’t be able to provide an exact answer.

Depending on where they are from, that answer will be different.

There are about 240 different Blue Box programs run by municipalities across Ontario, each one accepting different items for collection.

On the heels of a report by special advisor David Lindsay, the Ford government called the program unsustainable and in need of a significant overhaul.

The wheels are in motion towards that overhaul as the province is shifting financial responsibility for Blue Box material collection and processing to the producers of the packaging.

Beginning in 2023, companies that produce plastic waste will foot the bill, a move that has been supported by municipalities such as Durham Region and the City of Toronto for some time now.

With recycling rates stagnating, and studies finding nearly 30 per cent of Blue Box materials going to Ontario’s already near capacity landfills, it is clear something needed to be done.

And while the current government is patting themselves on the back, the idea was on the table long before Doug Ford and company were elected.

But regardless, action was required.

The province is promising more standardized and easier to understand blue box collection, and that would be a welcome change.

But will this actually lead to savings for residents?
It doesn’t seem out of the question that the companies now paying for the program could simply pass on the costs to the consumer by increasing the price of their products.

With another three-and-a-half-years before the new program begins, the province has a lot of time to work out the kinks.

Hopefully the end result is a more efficient program that leads to what everyone is hoping for – a greener, cleaner world.