Northumberland County Public Works Committee Hears About Blue Box Transition

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
When the Province of Ontario announced manufacturers would assume responsibility for recycling blue-box materials, the goal was that residents should see no change in the way they are collected.

As the Public Works Committee of Northumberland County heard this week at its June meeting, that should be true for at least the transition period in which the system completely changes over from municipal to corporate responsibility – a period that ends Jan. 1, 2026.

Director of Operations Adam McCue said the implementation date for producers taking over the responsibility in Northumberland is Jan. 1, 2024.

In anticipation of that, the county is negotiating with Circular Materials Ontario (an organization that represents a majority of the producers covered under new regulations) to continue to provide three key services, for a compensation structure that makes the county whole.

Those services are providing curbside collection of blue box materials from eligible community residences and facilities and public spaces, providing collections at Community Recycling Centres, and providing promotion and education services related to the blue box program.

Committee member Mandy Martin asked who would negotiate on behalf of the Ward 2 residents in the Municipality of Port Hope, a small corner of the county that opted out of the curbside-collection structure when it lost its identity as Hope Township in a 2001 forced merger with the Town of Port Hope into the current municipal configuration. McCue said the Municipality of Port Hope will negotiate to continue the current practices of this portion of the county.

As to what happens across the county in 2026, he cannot speak to that – it would be the decision of the producers how they would carry out these new responsibilities.

Though the new arrangement is referred to as producers assuming responsibility for blue box materials, he continued, this is just a convenient term of reference. They are actually taking on responsibility for materials in the blue box, the paper products in the gray box, and the plastic bags and packaging put out for collection in clear bags.

McCue did note one change that householders can anticipate once the program is fully implemented – exactly what materials you place in your blue box. The legislation aims for a consistent definition of blue box materials across the province, he said, while currently it varies from one municipality to another what you can put in your blue box.

The motion passed by the committee authorizes Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Moore to negotiate the agreement between the county and Circular Materials Ontario

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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