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[greenyes] Ontario Bill 90 - Producer responsibility versus subsidy for curbside
Dear GreenYes Colleagues,

             Re:  Ontario Bill 90 and the Blue Box Program Plan

The Conservative government in Ontario, Canada, is taking heat for the Blue 
Box Progam Plan to implement a system of packaging fees under Bill 90 adopted 
in 2002.  While Corporations Supporting Recycling (CSR) -- including major 
consumer product companies like P&G and Clorox -- supported the bill, the plan 
developed by Stewardship Ontario has drawn intense criticism for its cost and 
complexity.

Under Bill 90, industry must reimburse local government for 50 percent of the 
cost of the Blue Box curbside recycling.  Many like government officials many 
think this sounds interesting, right?

But since last year, cost estimates for Blue Box programs in Ontario have 
nearly doubled, recycling costs per ton of material are much higher than 
originally projected, and the administrative costs are about 2 and 1/2 times the 
projected first year fees.

I first learned about the situation from Raymond Communications and have 
begun researching the issue.  You can learn more by going to Packaging World 
online, to read the lead story based upon Michele Raymond's news release of August 
11, 2003.  The Internet address is: www.packworld.com

Stewardship Ontario has a web site with the plan, comments and interesting 
links:
 www.stewardshipontario.ca     or    www.stewardshipontario.org

Industry has no role in the management of the Blue Box program.  Ironically, 
the more a material is recycled, the more "stewards" (consumer product 
companies or first importers) pay.

There is no financial signal to encourage source reduction, reuse or 
utilizing recycled content.  And local government isn't required to use these funds 
for recycling.  So little improvement is anticipated by critics of this 
recycling plan.  Environmental benefits appear virtually nil.

The Ministry of Environment initiated a new round of stakeholder discussions 
today, after receiving about 90 sets of comments.  Comments received earlier 
from the Recycling Council of Ontario and Nestle are posted on the Stewardship 
Ontario web sited, and reflect many of the most important issues.  While many 
who commented on the plan praised how quickly it was drafted, most people feel 
there was insufficient time for evaluation and consultation.

As a recycling advocate for 14 years and environmentalist for most of my 
life, the Blue Box Program Plan looks less like "producer responsibility" and more 
like a simple industry subsidy.  I would welcome comments and a dialogue with 
any interested individuals or organizations.

Lance King
Community Solutions
(703) 536-7282

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