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Blue Box Producers

Producers were required to submit their supply report to RPRA by October 31, 2022. Those who have not yet submitted their report may be out of compliance and must submit their report as soon as possible. Learn more.

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A person is considered a producer under the Blue Box Regulation if they supply Blue Box material (packaging, paper products or packaging-like products) comprised of paper, glass, metal or plastic, or a combination of these materials to consumers in Ontario. The obligated producer is determined based on which Blue Box material they supply.

Franchisors and marketplace facilitators can also be obligated as the producer of Blue Box materials.

Under the Blue Box Regulation, consumers are individuals who use a product and its packaging for personal, family or household purposes, or persons who use a beverage and its container for personal, family, household or business purposes.

For further guidance, Blue Box producers should consult the Authority’s FAQs. The Authority will continue to update and add to the FAQs based on questions that we receive from stakeholders.

Click on the headings below for detailed definitions.

See our FAQ to understand “What is blue box product packaging?”.

Product packaging added to a product can be added at any stage of the production, distribution and supply of the product. A person adds packaging to a product if they:

  • make the packaging available for another person to add the packaging to the product
  • cause another person to add the packaging to a product
  • combine the product and the packaging

For the portion of the product packaging that a brand holder added to the product, a person is considered a producer:

  • if they are the brand holder of the product and are resident in Canada
  • if no resident brand holder, they are resident in Ontario and import the product
  • if no resident importer, they are the retailer that supplied the product directly to consumers in Ontario
  • if the retailer who would be the producer is a marketplace seller, the marketplace facilitator is the obligated producer
  • if the producer is a business that is a franchise, the franchisor is the obligated producer, if that franchisor has franchisees that are resident in Ontario

For the portion of the product packaging that an importer of the product into Ontario added to the product, a person is considered a producer:

  • if they are resident in Ontario and import the product
  • if no resident importer, they are the retailer that supplied the product directly to consumers in Ontario
  • if the retailer who would be the producer is a marketplace seller, the marketplace facilitator is the obligated producer
  • if the producer is a business that is a franchise, the franchisor is the obligated producer, if that franchisor has franchisees that are resident in Ontario

For any portion of the packaging that is not described above, the producer is the retailer who supplied the product to consumers in Ontario.

Refer to Part II of the Blue Box Regulation for more information on the definition of a producer.

See our FAQs to understand “What are paper products?” and “What are packaging-like products?”.

For paper products and packaging-like products, a person is considered a producer:

  • if they are the brand holder of the paper product or packaging-like product and are resident in Canada
  • if no resident brand holder, they are resident in Ontario and import the paper product or packaging-like product
  • if no resident importer, they are the retailer that supplied the paper product or packaging-like product directly to consumers in Ontario
  • if the retailer who would be the producer is a marketplace seller, the marketplace facilitator is the obligated producer
  • if the producer is a business that is a franchise, the franchisor is the obligated producer, if that franchisor has franchisees that are resident in Ontario

Refer to Part II of the Blue Box Regulation for more information on the definition of a producer.

What are my obligations under the Blue Box Regulation?

Click the headings below to learn more about your obligations as a producer. More information on producer obligations to come.

Under the Blue Box Regulation, producers of Blue Box materials are required to register with RPRA.

Register here

Producers are also required to pay their annual program fee at the time of registration.

Note: Throughout the transition of the legacy Blue Box Program operated by Stewardship Ontario to the new producer responsibility framework, stewards/producers are required to meet their obligations under the Blue Box Program Plan and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016 and under the new Blue Box Regulation, which includes registering, reporting and paying their program fee to RPRA.

Under the Blue Box Regulation, producers are responsible for providing Blue Box collection to every eligible source in Ontario. The transition to producer-run collection services starts July 1, 2023 through to December 31, 2025. Collection services in an eligible community will start on the date specified in the Blue Box Transition Schedule. Collection services will be provided to the following eligible sources:

  • Residences
  • Facilities (multi-residential buildings; long-term care homes; retirement homes; public and private schools)
  • Public spaces (an outdoor area in a park, playground or sidewalk; a public transit station or stop under municipal or provincial jurisdiction, including a track-level stop, to which the public is normally provided access)

On behalf of producers, PROs (or producer responsibility organizations) must submit a report that outlines how they will operate the Blue Box collection system, ensuring that materials are collected from all eligible communities in Ontario. This report must be submitted to RPRA no later than July 1, 2022. Read more here.

On the specific date that an eligible community will start to receive collection services, as outlined in the Blue Box Transition Schedule, producers or PROs on their behalf must service all eligible sources that receive service under the legacy Blue Box Program (under the WDTA), and meet the following requirements:

Residential Curbside Collection During Transition

  • Producers must collect Blue Box material at a frequency that is the same or more frequent than collection under the Blue Box Program
  • Producers must collect at minimum the Blue Box material that was collected under the WDTA Blue Box Program and may collect any additional Blue Box material

Residential Depot Collection During Transition

  • Producers that provide depot collection must accept at a minimum all Blue Box material that was accepted under the WDTA Blue Box Program and may accept any additional Blue Box material

Facilities Collection During Transition

  • Producers that provide collection for a facility must collect all Blue Box material that was collected under the WDTA Blue Box Program and may accept any additional Blue Box material

Public Spaces Collection During Transition

  • In each eligible community, producers must provide Blue Box receptacles in the same public spaces and in the same number as were provided under the WDTA Blue Box Program.

Further guidance on post-transition collection requirements (starting January 1, 2026) will be provided closer to that date.

As of July 1, 2023, producers or PROs on their behalf are required to establish and operate a system for managing Blue Box material and meet their management requirement. A producer’s management requirement is how much Blue Box material they must recover each year, which is calculated based on what they supplied into Ontario the previous calendar year and the resource recovery percentage as set in the regulation (see sections 30 and 40).

Producers must meet their management requirement by processing Blue Box material into recovered resources. The regulation defines recovered resources as materials:

  • marketed for re-use for their original purpose or function, or
  • marketed for use in new products or packaging

In addition:

  • the weight of the recovered resources may only be counted one time by the producer and must not be counted by more than one producer,
  • the recovered resources must be recovered from Blue Box material supplied to consumers in Ontario, and
  • he recovered resources must have been processed within three months from the date of pickup from a processor
  • materials must be processed by a processor registered with RPRA

A producer may only satisfy a management requirement for a material category with recovered resources that were recovered from Blue Box material in that material category.

Recovered resources do not include materials that are land filled/disposed, or materials that are incinerated or used in a product that is fuel or a fuel supplement.

If recovered resources are supplied for use in a product that is land cover, the land cover must be:

  • aggregate and the recovered resources cannot account for more than 15 per cent of the producer’s management requirement for any material category, or
  • a product that supports soil health or crop growth that is created through the combination of paper recovered resources with organic matter

Management requirement calculation

If a producer wishes to determine their management requirements manually, use the following formula:

Management Requirement = A × B

“A” is the weight in tonnes of Blue Box material in the material category that the producer is required to report in the previous calendar year

“B” is the recovery percentage for the previous year for a material category

See the table below to determine your recovery percentage:

A producer’s management requirement (for each material category) is subject to reductions during the transition period. During this time, producers shall use best efforts to meet their management requirement:

  • In 2023, the management requirement is reduced by two thirds
  • In 2024, the management requirement is reduced by one third
  • In 2025, the management requirement is not reduced

From 2025-2029 the management requirement is calculated without a reduction.

The producer-run collection system must implement a promotion and education program to provide the following information:

  • A list of Blue Box materials that may or may not be deposited into receptacles, and how they should be prepared, sorted or bagged
  • A description of how Blue Box receptacles can be replaced or how additional Blue Box receptacles can be requested
  • A description of how the producer will fulfil its collection responsibilities
  • Contact information (telephone number and email address)

Annual Supply Data Reporting

Starting in 2022, producers are required to annually report their supply data to RPRA. This is used to calculate a producer’s management requirement for the following year.

Each year, producers will need to provide the previous year’s supply data in each of the seven material categories – beverage container, glass, flexible plastic, rigid plastic, metal, paper, and certified compostable products and packaging – as well as any deductions to RPRA. Producers must also provide a brand supply list that makes up their supply data annually to RPRA. Newspaper producers will need to identify what percentage their newspaper supply counts towards their total Blue Box materials supplied.

Supply data must be submitted in accordance with the Registry Procedure – Verification and Audit. Verification of supply data is required starting in 2025. Verification requirements are outlined in the procedure.

 

Annual Performance Reporting

Starting in 2024, producers or PROs on their behalf are required to annually report on their performance in meeting their management requirement from the previous year to RPRA.

Starting in 2027, and every three years thereafter, producers or PROs on their behalf will be required to submit an audit verifying their performance reporting. The first audit will be verifying performance for 2024, 2025 and 2026. The audit must be conducted in accordance with the Registry Procedure – Verification and Audit.

Working with PROs

Producers have the choice of working with one or more producer responsibility organizations (PROs) registered with the Authority to meet their obligations.

A PRO is a business established to contract with producers to provide collection, management and administrative services to help producers meet their regulatory obligations under the Blue Box Regulation, including:

  • Arranging, establishing or operating a collection or management system
  • Arranging, establishing or operating promotion and education system
  • Preparing and submitting reports
  • Representing a producer for any purpose under the regulation

PROs operate in a competitive market and producers can choose the PRO (or PROs) they want to work with. The terms and conditions of each contract with a PRO may vary. To view a list of registered PROs, visit our Blue Box PROs webpage.

 

Are there exemptions for Blue Box producers?

Under the Blue Box Regulation, there are three types of exemptions that apply to producers: one based on a producer’s gross annual revenue, one based on the weight of Blue Box materials supplied into Ontario, and one for producers of newspaper. Click the headings below to learn more about exemptions as a producer.

Any producer whose gross annual Ontario revenue from products and services is less than $2,000,000 is exempt from all producer requirements under the regulation. In the case where the producer is a franchisor, it is the gross annual revenue of the system that is used to determine if an exemption applies.

Any producer who meets the exemption must keep any records that demonstrate its gross annual Ontario revenue is less than $2,000,000 in a paper or electronic format that can be examined or accessed in Ontario for a period of five years from the date of creation.

See our FAQ to understand what revenues municipalities and registered charities should consider when determining whether or not they are an exempt producer.

A producer who is above the revenue-based exemption level may still be exempt from performance requirements (collection, management and promotion and education) if their supply weight is below the exemption levels outlined in the table below.

If a producer’s annual revenue is more than and supply weight in all material categories is less than the tonnage exemption threshold, the producer is required to register and report.

If a producer’s annual revenue is more than $2,000,000 and supply weight in at least one material category is above the tonnage exemption threshold, the producer is required to meet all obligations (registration, reporting, collection, management, and promotion and education). However, producers are only required to meet their minimum in material categories where they are above the exemption level.

As outlined in the amended Blue Box Regulation (released April 19, 2022), producers of newspapers may be exempt from collection, management, and promotion and education requirements.  For the purposes of this exemption, “newspapers” includes newspapers and any protective wrapping and any supplemental advertisements and inserts that are provided along with the newspapers.

For a producer to qualify for this exemption, newspaper must account for at least 70% of their total weight of Blue Box materials supplied to consumers in Ontario in a calendar year. If exempt, the producer is not required to meet collection, management, and promotion and education requirements for all Blue Box materials they supply in Ontario for that calendar year.

A producer whose newspaper supply accounts for less than 70% of their total weight of Blue Box materials is subject to collection, management, and promotion and education requirements for all Blue Box materials they supply in Ontario.

Information for Blue Box Program Stewards

During transition years, stewards will be obligated under the Blue Box Program Plan and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016 and required to meet their obligations under the new Blue Box Regulation, which includes registering, reporting and paying their Registry fee to RPRA.

Stewardship Ontario will continue to operate the Blue Box Program on behalf of stewards until December 31, 2025, once all municipalities and First Nation communities have transitioned their programs to the new framework. Visit Stewardship Ontario’s website for more information on the transition of the current program, and direct any operational inquiries to: werecycle@stewardshipontario.ca.

For further information about the current program operated by Stewardship Ontario, including the Blue Box Program Plan and other program documents, the Blue Box Steward Funding Obligation, the Municipal Funding Allocation Model (MFAM), the InKind Advertising Program and Datacall, visit our Blue Box Program page.