Ontario government developing new blue box program
SUDBURY -- The Ontario government says it is developing a stronger, more effective blue box program that will allow more items to be recycled and save money.
The new program also aims to increase recycling in more rural communities and encourage manufacturers to use more recyclable material.
The new list includes items like plastic cups, foils, trays and bags. Single-use items such as stir sticks, straws, cutlery, and plates will also be permitted under the proposal.
Sudbury’s Re-Think Green said Monday this is a good step that it will benefit the north.
“It will help support small municipalities,” said Michaela Penwarden-Watson from Re-Think Green. "All these things are going to the landfill and landfills actually have a max capacity. I’m sure these landfills are going to reach their max capacity at some point, so if we recycle that will be better.”
Greater Sudbury didn't comment on the province's proposal, but one city councillor said the current recycling program can improve.
Producers will pay more
“If this works the way it’s supposed to work, then the producers will be paying for more of the cost of the curbside pickup,” said Ward 5 Coun. Rob Kirwan.
“There will probably be less curbside pickup because the producers will be reducing their packaging so they don’t have to pay as much.”
Ontario’s new plan comes on Day 1 of Waste Reduction Week. From Oct. 19-25, people across the province are being encouraged to reduce the amount of garbage they create.
“I think there's always need for improvement,’ said Penwarden-Watson.
“Lots of little things can add up to many different things. If you are participating in outdoor actives, try picking up some waste when you are walking around. If you see a few things, try grabbing a few and throw them out at home.”
Kirwan said Sudbury’s current blue box program is “excellent” and encourages more people to recycle. But, he said, it’s not cheap.
“If people use the blue box the way it’s supposed to be used, and they use their organics green bin, people shouldn’t have much garbage to throw out,” he said.
“It’s an excellent program, but it is very costly.”
The province said that by 2026, it will also expand blue box services to apartment buildings, long-term care homes, schools and parks so more people can get into the increased recycling effort.