April 4, 2005

Industry stewards provide $29.5M to fund Blue Box programs for 2004

Since June 2004, the industries that use packaging and printed papers which end up as waste in municipal waste management systems have contributed more than $29.5 million to help pay for municipal Blue Box recycling programs in Ontario, says Stewardship Ontario. The funding has been distributed to 189 municipal recycling programs in four payments, the last of which (for 2004), totalling $9.1 million, was sent out to municipalities last week.

"The first year of this stewardship program has proven it is possible to sustain our popular Blue Box program financially with the assistance and support of industry. As industry and municipalities continue to work co-operatively toward greater system efficiency, we'll divert more Blue Box materials and extend the life of our existing landfills," said Glenda Gies, executive director of Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO), the non-government corporation created under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 to develop, implement and operate waste diversion programs for various materials, including Blue Box waste.

The legislation requires those companies that are brand owners and first importers to fund 50% of the net cost of municipal residential Blue Box recycling programs. Stewardship Ontario is the industry funding organization designated by WDO to collect the fees from industry and distribute them to municipalities. Companies designated as stewards for Blue Box wastes can meet their legal obligations under the act through membership in Stewardship Ontario and payment of the applicable fees.

The amount distributed to each municipal program is determined by how cost-efficient its Blue Box recycling program is, the range of materials collected and the tonnage diverted from disposal. The program covers all packaging (glass, plastic, metal, paper and textiles) and printed paper materials, whether the materials are diverted in the Blue Box system or managed through disposal.

"More than 1,760 companies registered as Blue Box stewards in 2004," said Stewardship Ontario CEO Damian Bassett, adding that "we expect the number to grow as more companies find out about the program and take the necessary steps to fulfill their obligation to help pay for the Blue Box program." The reporting deadline for 2005 was March 31, he noted.

A portion of the fees paid by the stewards is used to fund activities designed to increase material recycling rates and to reduce program costs including strengthening markets for recovered materials, public education and awareness, and innovations to promote Blue Box program efficiency and effectiveness.

The Effectiveness and Efficiency (E&E) Fund, launched in July 2004, is making up to $9 million in grants available by the end of 2005 to fund municipal recycling projects. To date, the program has received more than 50 applications from Ontario municipal recycling programs.

More information is available on the WDO and Stewardship Ontario Web sites, www.wdo.ca, www.stewardshipontario.ca.

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