November 7, 2017
116 Spadina Ave., Suite 300
Toronto, ON M5V 2K6
Dear Mr. Gray,
I am writing to you on behalf of the members of the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) in response to your recent email campaign advocating for a deposit-return program in Ontario.
We all want to leave a better environment for future generations. That is why the CBA and its members are committed to taking action today to build a circular economy for tomorrow. Across Canada, CBA members participate in a variety of recycling programs to recover glass bottles, aluminum cans and PET plastic containers, which are 100% recyclable. In Ontario, we are a proud partner in the Blue Box program, which is available in 95% of households in the province. The success of this iconic recycling program has been its convenience for Ontario residents.
Many Ontarians are living in smaller homes and rely on transit to get to and from their work and local shopping centres. Telling Ontarians to stop putting aluminum cans and plastic bottles in their Blue Box so they can store these containers in their apartment and transport them on the subway or the bus to a local depot or retail store is not the right solution. A more practical option is to build on the success of the Blue Box program in Ontario, which beverage companies are helping to do right now. Although beverage containers represent a small percentage of the waste stream, we believe we have a very important role to play in strengthening this recycling program.
Last year, the provincial government passed the Waste-Free Ontario Act into law and introduced the Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario as a way to increase recycling rates and transition to a system of individual producer responsibility (IPR) in which companies that produce waste will be fully responsible for funding and operating recycling programs for their products and packaging. Our members support this approach.
In keeping with the government’s strategy, companies that financially contribute to the Blue Box are now working together to improve this recycling program and increase its waste diversion rate so that more valuable resources can be collected and recycled into new products in Ontario’s growing circular economy.
Our members also support the provincial government’s commitment to “begin implementing disposal bans on materials under existing waste diversion programs,” including Ontario’s Blue Box program. Introducing a disposal ban for beverage containers would increase recovery rates particularly in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector.
We are committed to improving recycling rates in Ontario by pursuing initiatives that will complement the Blue Box program. Beverage companies have taken a similar approach in Manitoba where our sector participates in the Blue Box program while also providing away-from-home and multi-residential recycling infrastructure through the Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA).
As a result of the CBCRA’s Recycle Everywhere program, the recovery rate of beverage containers has increased to 70%, up from 42%, in just a six-year period. That’s a 28-percentage point improvement, which includes the largest recovery rate increase of any jurisdiction in North America between 2010 and 2014. Additionally, now that consumers have convenient access to more away-from-home recycling bins, municipalities across Manitoba are seeing litter significantly reduced within their jurisdiction.
The CBA and our members are committed to meeting our responsibilities under the Waste-Free Ontario Act, and we are focused on increasing waste diversion rates. As Ontario transitions to a producer responsibility model, we hope to find ways to work together to build on the success of Ontario’s Blue Box program as we develop a more circular economy for future generations.
Canadian Beverage Association
20 Bay Street
WaterPark Place, 11th Floor
Toronto, ON M5J 2N8
Tel: (416) 362-2424