On June 8, 2019, David Lindsay, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities, was assigned by then-Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Rod Phillips, to provide the government with advice and recommendations by July 20, 2019 on how to improve recycling through the Blue Box Program and better manage plastic pollution. Over a six-week period Mr. Lindsay met with a broad range of stakeholders.

Seven key issues were identified for discussion by the parties:
• A measured time frame for transition
• Ensuring a common collection system
• Transitioning municipal assets
• Standardizing what’s in the Blue Box
• Determining eligible sources for Blue Box materials
• Setting effective diversion targets
• Promoting increased diversion from landfill

After the mediation process, Mr. Lindsay provided recommendations for each of the seven key areas discussed.
Mr. Lindsay stated that “Parties were able to achieve consensus in many areas, and some topics will need more time than was available to reach agreement.” The report, submitted to the Hon. Jeff Yurek, current Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, is the result of a strong collaboration of stakeholders and the journey towards a successful transition to producer-run recycling services for Ontarians.

In conclusion Mr. Lindsay writes,

“Moving the Blue Box to producer responsibility is a first step in an important path that will help rebuild the Blue Box, protect our environment, and build our economy.”

Minister Yurek will provide an update later this summer on next steps, including consultations with stakeholders, the public, and Indigenous communities.

Further Reading


RCO continues to take an active role in waste and recycling policy, and is pleased the Government of Ontario is continuing to take steps to move Ontario into a place of environmental leadership. RCO supports producer responsibility as an effective policy instrument to manage waste streams.

For those that wish to discuss RCO policy positions further:

Jo-Anne St. Godard
Executive Director
Recycling Council of Ontario
416.657.2797, ext. 3
[email protected]