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[greenyes] Ontario Blue Box plan approved

Dear Greenyesers:

Below is a release on the newly-approved Ontario "Blue Box" plan. Reporting I have seen on it so far has not been very balanced.
I track EPR policy globally, and I don't think it provides the right incentives, but it is good news for Canadian local governments.

Ontario Approves Historic Plan to Charge Industry for Recycling;
New Packaging Fees to Begin Spring 2004

In a precedent-setting move, Ontario's new Minister of the Environment has approved a controversial plan that will require packaged goods makers to ante up for 50% the local government bill for curbside recycling, which will trigger weight-based packaging fees by spring of 2004, according to State Recycling Laws Update, a newsletter covering North American recycling policy (

The plan, which was submitted in February 2003, was delayed because of complaints from industry over the cost and complexity of the plan, and because of elections for a new government in October. Approval of the plan, required under Bill 90 approved in 2002, is a victory for local governments, which stand to take in $3 million per month (CDN) from industry payments.

Quebec has legislation in place, and is set to copy Ontario as soon as the regulation is settled.

"Approval of this plan does set a new precedent in the area of 'producer responsibility' legislation worldwide," comments SRLU publisher Michele Raymond, head of Raymond Communications. "There is some concern from industry that the idea will spread to other governments. This is the first time in North America that manufacturers will have to weigh their packaging and calculate fees."

The new government has asked the Waste Diversion Ontario to submit by March, a plan to expand recovery of material suitable for blue box from the current 45 per cent to 60 per cent by 2008.

While the plan has been supported by certain beverage companies and a few retailers, the Packaging Association of Canada has formed a new coalition to fight the law. The coalition charges that there is no cap on what local governments will consider their "costs," which have doubled two times so far, and that the way the law has been interpreted, some packaging suppliers will have their profits wiped out.

Once the WDO board approves new fees, manufacturers selling more than $2 million Canadian in Ontario will have 90 days to submit reports on 19 materials and pay their fees.

The issue will be covered extensively in State Recycling Laws Update, and will be discussed at the next Take it Back conference, to be held March 1-3, 2004 near San Francisco. Information:

Contact: Michele Raymond 301 345-4237 (w) 301-879-0628 (Home) Cell: 240-472-5676


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