Provincial recycling policy change explains lack of free blue bins

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Some local residents have noted that blue bins are no longer being given away at the Boyne Road Landfill. The question of “hey, what gives?!” is one that has an answer perhaps more complex than some people may realize. 

Danielle Ward was able to quickly confirm that recycling bins are no longer offered by the Township free of charge. She also noted that they are available at local hardware stores for residents to purchase. “There is no policy for recycling bin sales in the Township, nor is the Township required to provide recycling bins free of charge,” Danielle added. 

While it’s easy to assume that the change comes down solely to money, that isn’t the case. Danielle explained that in previous years, municipalities used to receive blue box funding that allowed bulk orders of recycling bins to be placed at a low cost. “Waste Diversion Ontario would allow municipalities to claim the cost on their annual Datacall report to receive reimbursement,” said Danielle. Providing free blue boxes for residents therefore used to be an easy decision but now, changes are on the horizon regarding how recycling waste will be managed. 

“In July of 2023, the provincial government changed the Blue Box Act to the Waste Diversion Ontario Act, and this changed how recycling will be completed in the Province and how funding is allocated,” Danielle explained. “Currently, municipalities such as the Township of North Dundas are transitioning out of collection of recycling, and the producers of the items in the recycling box are beginning collection of the items. December 31, 2024 is slated to be the last day that the Township staff will collect recycling in North Dundas. Beginning in 2025, the producers will be collecting recycling from residences and how they perform that collection is on the authority of the Province, not the Township.”

These regulatory changes were proposed to help shift the burden of waste management onto the companies that produce the waste in the form of packaging. As part of the program, larger facilities such as public schools, long term care homes, and multi-residential buildings will be eligible to have their recycling collected for free – a change from having to pay a third party contractor. In addition, a larger number of items will be eligible for recycling in Ontario, and the list of items that can be recycled will be universal across the Province for the first time in history. 

Danielle connected the dots regarding the Township halting its free blue bin policy. “[Now], if the Township were to purchase the bins, it would be at no cost reduction, nor would we be reimbursed by what used to be WDO – now the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority,” she said. “Therefore we would sell [the blue bins] at the same price, or likely higher than at the hardware store. So rather than compete with local businesses, we have gotten away from supplying blue bins.”

Anyone looking to replace or add a blue bin to their recycling routine is encouraged to shop locally at one of the many hardware stores in North Dundas. 

2 COMMENTS

    • Hi Dan. The producers are the ones who make the packaging. For example, Coca Cola is a producer because it produces pop cans. The cost and responsibility for recycling will soon fall on those who produce the packaging. No… this doesn’t mean that a representative from Coca Cola will be knocking on your door once every two weeks asking for cans. Companies will form partnerships both with each other and with third party service providers to contract out the work of collecting and processing recyclables from homes, which will likely be similar or the same as how the Township does it now. You can expect to read more in the February 22 edition of the Times.

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