Niagara Region’s Public Works Committee endorses direction to not ‘opt in’ and continue residential recycling collection on behalf of Producers
Niagara Region’s Public Works Committee has approved a staff recommendation to not ‘opt in’ to providing curbside collection of recycling from residences, facilities and public spaces after Niagara Region’s transition to the new Producer Responsibility Blue Box Program on Jan. 1, 2024. This is one of several decisions to be made by the Region tied to the Provincial regulation moving the obligation for residential recycling from municipalities to the Producers of products and packaging that end up in the recycling program.
The decision made at the July 11 Committee meeting, if approved by Council on July 20, will set the direction for responsibility of residential recycling collection to be removed from the Region and placed solely in the hands of Circular Materials Ontario. Circular Materials Ontario is the organization responsible for setting up contracts to collect and receive recycling materials across the province, on behalf of Producers. The decision was made due to potential risks with the agreements being offered by Circular Materials Ontario that would have seen the Region maintain responsibility as a recycling collection provider, on Circular Materials Ontario’s behalf, until Dec. 31, 2025. Beyond 2025, Producers take full control (operationally and financially) of the residential Blue Box program across Ontario.
If approved by Council, the Region’s decision to not ‘opt in’ to the continued provision of recycling collection will result in changes for local residents come Jan. 1, 2024, including new customer service contacts for inquiries about recycling collection, changes in the distribution and replacement of recycling containers and what can be recycled.
In addition to not ‘opting in’ to providing recycling collection, the Committee also made two additional key decisions that will be brought to Council on July 20:
- Discontinuing the collection of materials that are not part of the new Provincial producer responsibility program beginning in January 2024, such as books and flexible plastics used for food containment that are currently collected in Niagara but are not included in the new Blue Box program
- Continuing recycling collection for special events during the two year transition period
To assist in providing a smooth transition to the new recycling collection provider, the Committee also directed staff to implement a communication strategy to advise the community of changes to the Blue Box Program prior to Jan. 1, 2024.
A decision about whether the Region will continue to collect materials from industrial, commercial and institutional properties, a service not covered under the new Blue Box regulation, will also be up for consideration at a future meeting.
Niagara Region will continue to be responsible for Green Bin, yard waste, and garbage collection from residential properties as well as management of its landfills and other diversion programs.
Janet Rose (media only)