David Lindsay, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities, has been assigned by the Government of Ontario to provide Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, a report by July 31, 2019 on how to tackle plastic waste and litter, improve recycling, increase products that can go into the blue box, and ensure producers are responsible for managing plastic and other packaging at end-of-life.

His work is to be guided by public policy objectives:

  • Standardization across the province of what can be recycled in offices, parks, public spaces and homes;
  • Improve diversion rates and increase what materials can be recycled;
  • Reduce litter and waste in communities and parks;
  • Improve Ontario’s Blue Box program by requiring producers to pay for the recycling of the products they produce, through achieving producer responsibility; and
  • Maintain or improve frequency of Blue Box collection.
  • When increasing diversion in the residential sector, consider how these policies can also enable diversion in the institutional, commercial and industrial sector.

Furthermore, his work will consist of two roles:

  • impartial mediator that will foster discussion and help producers, municipalities, and other stakeholders move closer to or reach agreement on key issues;
  • advisory, where he will provide the minister with advice on how these issues may be best addressed to ensure Ontario’s recycling system is more consistent, reliable, and cost-effective for Ontarians.

The minister has also requested a jurisdictional review on how leading jurisdictions are employing innovative technologies to improve recycling efficiency and diversion rates for consideration.

The ministry has identified representatives from the municipal sector and producer stakeholders who have a strong interest and operational role in the Blue Box Program’s transition, who will be invited to mediation sessions and discuss critical issues, understand sector perspectives, and help establish common ground on transition of the Blue Box Program.

Mr. Lindsay will also host a webinar to provide an overview of the issues under discussion and invite feedback from the broader stakeholder community that will inform his deliberations, which RCO intends to take part in.

Any submissions or letters for Mr. Lindsay’s consideration can be submitted to RRPB.Mail@ontario.ca.

Further Reading

News release: Ontario to Tackle Plastic Litter and Waste & Revamp Recycling

RCO Response: Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan

RCO Response: Waste Discussion Paper