Solid Waste & Recycling

Feature

Mixed Plastics

In 1983, Ontario started what has grown to be the Blue Box Program - a convenient recycling program that has spread across the country and endured for nearly three decades. Today more than 95 per cent of Ontarians participate in Blue Box...


In 1983, Ontario started what has grown to be the Blue Box Program – a convenient recycling program that has spread across the country and endured for nearly three decades. Today more than 95 per cent of Ontarians participate in Blue Box recycling, resulting in over 900,000 tonnes of waste being diverted from landfill last year alone.

Stewardship Ontario has recently been working with four neighboring municipalities (City of Kawartha Lakes, County of Northumberland, City and County of Peterborough) and the Continuous Improvement Fund (see Blog article, last edition) to develop and launch a promotion and education campaign to increase the capture rate of mixed plastics.

Curbside audits were completed in all four municipalities and PET Thermoform was selected as the plastic packaging to focus on. The capture rate for all other mixed plastics was quite good in all four municipalities. PET Thermoform was only marginally less but – given recent announcements by Walmart and other large grocers regarding their commitment to switch from other packaging materials to PET Thermoform for several products – this seemed an ideal material for the campaign.

PET Thermoform materials include plastic clamshells that contain fruits (like berries), muffins and cookies from the grocer’s baking displays, “ready to go” roasted chickens and plastic egg cartons.

While the business objective of the campaign is to improve the capture rate of PET Thermoforms, the consumer-facing messages focus on educating residents on what PET materials are accepted in the blue box and what these materials become.

Each household in the four municipalities will receive a direct mail piece that focuses on PET materials and includes a “bumper sticker” for residents to stick on their blue box or recycling cart to serve as a reminder. Stewardship Ontario is encouraging residents to upload a photo of their sticker on their blue box to the Stewardship Ontario website. They will then be entered into a draw to win one of four (per municipality) $100 gift cards at a retailer of their choosing. (25 options of retailers will be provided.)

This campaign includes radio, billboards, direct drop brochures, in-store posters, etc.

Upon close of the campaign in September another curbside audit will be completed. Market research will also be conducted to determine public awareness of the campaign objectives.

If successful, this campaign will be shared with other municipalities and will be offered to them for implementation. Stewardship Ontario will share the results of this project, and all of the creative with municipalities who are either interested in boosting their capture rate, or adding mixed plastics.

Contact Sherry Arcaro at sarcaro@stewardshipontario.ca


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