Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, issued the following statement regarding Special Advisor David Lindsay’s report on how Ontario can better manage recycling and plastic waste.
“I’d like to thank Mr. Lindsay for delivering his report on schedule and for volunteering his time and expertise. It’s clear that Ontario’s current Blue Box Program is unsustainable. Recycling rates have been stalled for 15 years and up to 30 per cent of what is put into blue boxes is sent to landfill. Over 240 municipalities have their own separate lists of accepted recyclable materials, which affects cost savings and contamination, and program costs are expected to increase by approximately $10 million per year after 2019. There is also the serious problem of plastic pollution and litter increasingly plaguing our parks, roads and waterways. In June, Mr. Lindsay was appointed as Special Advisor on Recycling and Plastic Waste to address these concerns and the growing issue of plastic waste and litter.
Over the past six weeks, David Lindsay hosted multiple meetings with stakeholders from municipal and industry sectors to discuss how best to transition the Blue Box Program to make producers responsible for managing the plastic and other packaging they produce. Discussions helped move participants to a common understanding and agreement on key issues.
Following these very informative conversations, Mr. Lindsay submitted his report to me with recommendations on how to effectively transition the program to producer responsibility while improving recycling and increasing products that can go into the blue box. This report will inform the ministry’s next steps for improving the Blue Box Program to reduce costs, increase diversion rates and reduce plastic waste and litter.
I look forward to providing an update later this summer on our next steps, including how we will consult with stakeholders, the public and Indigenous communities. I’m confident we can enhance Ontario’s Blue Box legacy and provide greater opportunities for the people of this province to do their part to keep our environment healthy, clean and beautiful for future generations.”