Through Ontario’s Blue Box Program, recyclable materials such as paper, glass, plastic and aluminum are collected from residences in over 240 municipalities and First Nation communities across the province. Stewardship Ontario is the not-for-profit, industry funding organization that operates the Blue Box Program on behalf of industry stewards (first importers, brand owners or franchisors) of packaging and printed paper that end up in residential blue boxes.
As part of our oversight of the Blue Box Program, each year we determine the total amount that stewards must pay to municipalities to operate the program. We also calculate how much funding each participating municipal program is eligible for based on the information they provide us in the annual Datacall.
We also oversee the Continuous Improvement Fund, which was created to help Ontario municipalities implement best practices to improve the effectiveness of their Blue Box programs.
Under the Blue Box Program Plan, members of News Media Canada contribute newspaper advertising to municipalities in lieu of cash funding. We facilitate the allocation of this advertising to municipalities through the InKind Advertising Program.
Blue Box Transition
On April 15, 2019, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks directed RPRA and Stewardship Ontario to transition 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 began transitioning to the new regulatory framework for resource recovery on July 1, 2023 and will continue through to December 31, 2025. During the transition, Stewardship Ontario will continue to administer the program on behalf of stewards, and residents will not see any disruption in the Blue Box services provided by their municipalities and First Nation communities.
Visit our Blue Box Transition page for more information on the transition of the Blue Box Program to Ontario’s new producer responsibility framework and the wind up of Stewardship Ontario itself.
Ontario’s New Blue Box Regulation
On June 3, 2021, the Government of Ontario released the Blue Box Regulation under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016, requiring producers to operate and pay for the collection and reuse, refurbishment and recycling of Blue Box materials.
Visit our Blue Box Regulation page for more information about the new regulation, including what materials are obligated, regulatory requirements for specific roles (e.g., producer, PRO, processor, municipality, First Nation community), key dates and deadlines, and FAQs.