Toronto, Ont – We applaud the Ontario government for moving forward and committing to improving the province’s stalled recycling rate, and making producers responsible for the waste they create, to address the growing issue of plastic pollution.

Ontario needs to set high collection and recycling targets that increase at a predictable rate to move the province to a circular, zero waste economy by 2030 at the latest. In addition to high targets, there must be enforcement and penalties in place to ensure that producers actually reach those targets.

The province’s commitment to standardize what materials are accepted in the Blue Box is a welcome move. Part of the solution to increasing recycling rates is to make recycling simple and to improve the amount of materials captured for recycling.

Increasing recycling alone won’t be sufficient. Making producers responsible should also mean that hard to recycle plastics are eliminated, unnecessary single-use plastics are banned, and there are requirements to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated.

We also urge the province to move forward with a deposit return program for plastic bottles as part of this transition. Ontarians throw out 1.5 billion bottles every year. This is unacceptable. A deposit system is a proven best practice that can recover over 90 per cent of containers sold. Now is the time for the province to adopt such a program.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry, and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate, and healthy communities.

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For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 228, 905-330-0172 (cell); jmayville@environmentaldefence.ca