Blue Box boost
Last November Ontario’s environment ministry announced the creation of the Waste Diversion Organization (WDO), a partnership of government, industry and municipalities that aims to develop and improve sustainable provincial diversion programs, including the municipal Blue Box program.
The WDO is based on a one-year voluntary Memorandum of Understanding between the Ontario Minister of the Environment, CSR: Corporations Supporting Recycling (which represents the food and consumer product sectors), the Canadian Newspaper Association (CAN), the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the Canadian Painting Coatings Association (CPCA), the Canadian Manufacturers of Chemical Specialties Association and the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO).
These organizations have committed a total of $14.5-million to develop, implement and fund municipal waste diversion programs. No tax revenues will be used to support the objectives of the WDO.
Board of directors
A board of directors representing of the various parties will manage the WDO. While the role of the environment ministry is primarily advisory, the memorandum does provide that the environment minister must establish a formal structure for future governance and administration of the programs.
The other 12 board members will have one vote each, with the exception of the Chair, who has two votes. The Chair will be selected from the CSR, which will have a total of four members on the Board and will contribute $4-million. The AMO will appoint four members, the CNA (providing $1-million in advertising) will appoint one, the CPCA and the chemical manufacturers will jointly appoint one, the LCBO ($9-million contribution) will appoint one and the RCO (with no monetary contribution) will have one member on the board.
WDO programs will include: Blue Box funding related to wine and liquor glass containers and the overall improvement of Blue Box programs; increased organic waste diversion through centralized composting, organic digestion facilities and educational programs; the establishment of five to 10 additional municipal depots for household hazardous waste (HHW); and, informing the public about municipal waste management activities in daily newspapers.
The WDO’s efforts to improve Blue Box programs will be achieved by: an examination of the number and location of material recovery facilities (MRFs) in Ontario; planning for further capital improvements to MRFs through shared-cost projects with demonstration value; the investigation of innovative collection methods; increased waste diversion from apartment recycling programs through retrofits, promotion and other measures; and, the examination of markets for secondary materials.
The WDO will provide monies to municipalities that have Blue Box programs and other programs that recycle empty wine and liquor glass containers. Funds contributed by the LCBO ($4-million) will be used for the purpose of defraying the 1999 costs of recycling such containers with the other $4-million being used to defray the 2000 costs. The allocation of these monies amongst the municipalities will be based on glass tonnage collected during the 1998 and 1999 calendar years respectively.
The memorandum marks significant progress on certain issues. For example, companies that manufacture HHW products will, for the first time in the history of the province, contribute to disposal costs. The WDO’s review of longer-term issues will include the development of options for a sustainable funding formula to provide for up to 50 per cent of the net operating costs of municipal Blue Box programs, as well as to continue the other programs set out above.
A “principles” document must be completed by the WDO by April 17, 2000, with a final proposal due on September 1, 2000. The WDO should be motivated to achieve its objectives — industry participants may face regulatory action and additional standards if a voluntary funding program cannot be achieved.