On August 15, 2019, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks issued direction to RPRA and Stewardship Ontario to begin transitioning the management of Ontario’s Blue Box Program to producers of plastic and other packaging. This will enable the transition of materials collected under the program to individual producer responsibility under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016. The Blue Box Program will transition to the new regulatory framework for resource recovery starting on January 1, 2023 through to December 31, 2025.

On April 3, 2020, the Minister extended the deadline for Stewardship Ontario to submit its proposed Blue Box Program Wind-up Plan to the Authority to August 31, 2020, instead of June 30, 2020. Read the direction letter.

The extension was requested by SO due to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure meaningful consultation with stakeholders. The plan must still meet the requirements outlined in the Minister’s August 15, 2019 direction letter, including the expectation of the Authority to review, consult on and approve the plan no later than December 31, 2020. The timelines for the wind-up of the Blue Box Program and transition to the individual producer responsibility framework also remains the same.

SO held webinar consultations on the Blue Box Program Wind-up Plan on June 16 and 17, 2020. Review the consultation materials. 

Under the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016, the Authority is responsible for overseeing the orderly wind up of current waste diversion programs and the industry funding organizations responsible for managing those programs.

During the transition, Stewardship Ontario will continue to operate the Blue Box Program without disruption. Please continue to contact them directly for any operational inquiries: werecycle@stewardshipontario.ca.

Information related to the program transition and future consultations will be posted to this page as it becomes available.

Ontario’s Special Advisor on recycling and plastic waste

In June 2019, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks appointed David Lindsay as a Special Advisor on recycling and plastic waste. Mr. Lindsay engaged with stakeholders to identify and develop a common understanding of key operational issues in order to provide a clear path for the transition of the Blue Box Program to individual producer responsibility.

In early August, Mr. Lindsay delivered a report to the Minister, based on insights gathered from mediation sessions with stakeholders, that outlined recommendations for transitioning the management of the Blue Box Program to producers of plastic and other packaging.  The report offered ideas to improve recycling and increase the number of products that can be recycled, while ensuring the program continues to be accessible and convenient.

Recommendations from the report helped inform the ministry’s next steps in transitioning the Blue Box Program to producer responsibility.