Ontario Finalizes Blue Box Regulation

Government also finalizes amendments to Regulation 101/94: Recycling and Composting of Municipal Waste to sunset municipal obligations to run the Blue Box after transition to full producer responsibility.


On Thursday, June 3, 2021 the Government of Ontario filed producer responsibility regulation for Blue Box materials under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 (RRCEA). 

Through this regulation it makes producers of Blue Box materials fully responsible for managing their products by:

  • transitioning existing municipal, local services board and First Nation blue box services to producer responsibility between July 1, 2023 and December 31, 2025; and
  • making producers responsible for a consistent set of blue box materials and eligible sources beginning on January 1, 2026.

The Blue Box regulation also puts into place a new framework that:

  • makes individual producers responsible for the collection and end-of-life management of the blue box materials they supply to consumers in Ontario; and 
  • gives producers control over how they provide blue box collection services to residents, manage collected Blue Box wastes, and achieve compliance with diversion targets.


In addition, Ontario Regulation 101/94: Recycling and Composting of Municipal Waste was amended to require any local municipality that operates a Blue Box program as of August 15, 2019 to continue to provide the service until the municipality’s Blue Box program has transitioned to producer responsibility under this new regulation. Requirements that a local municipality operate a Blue Box program would be fully repealed by 2026.


Regulation will require producers of paper, packaging, packaging-like products and single-use items to:

  • maintain or improve existing Blue Box services, including participating in a common curbside Blue Box collection system across Ontario;
    expand Blue Box services to communities outside the Far North, regardless of population;
  • expand Blue Box collection services to additional sources, such as multi-unit residential buildings, schools, some public spaces, and specified retirement and long-term care homes;
  • collect a consistent set of materials in Blue Box across the province;
    meet management requirements for Blue Box materials, such as diversion targets; and
  • implement a promotion and education program to increase awareness about collection, reuse, recycling, and recovery of materials.

Minimum material recovery percentages and timelines:

Regulation will not:

  • impact existing deposit return initiatives operated for alcohol beverage containers; and
  • require producers to provide blue box services in the industrial, commercial, and institutional (IC&I) sectors, except for:
    • beverage containers must be collected in the IC&I sectors;
    • all blue box material must be collected in multi-unit residential;
    • wellings, schools, specified long-term care and retirement homes, and some public spaces as specified in the regulation.

Producers of Blue Box materials are required to register with the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority by October 1, 2021.


Extended producer responsibility is designed to assign economic and environmental accountability to producers, and we support its application to Ontario’s Blue Box program. For far too long municipalities and taxpayers have had to share the burden of cost on a collection and recycling system. By transferring cost fully to producers we hope to see innovation in packaging that is designed for efficient collection and recovery at end of life. 
While we applaud government for addressing the Blue Box program and residential printed paper and packaging, the bulk of waste generated in these streams is by the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional sector.
To truly support and advance the circular economy and ensure that resources are kept in circulation in closed-loop system we need to address all sources of waste – residential and commercial – with comprehensive data reporting to ensure transparency and accountability. 
Jo-Anne St.Godard
Executive Director
Circular Innovation Council





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