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Ontario provincial program means municipal changes for Kingston when it comes to recycling

The Ontario government is taking action to improve recycling across the province
WATCH: How provincial changes will impact municipal recycling

The Ontario government is taking action to improve recycling across the province and address the serious problem of plastic pollution and litter.

The program will transition the costs of the blue box program away from municipal taxpayers and make the producers of products and packaging fully responsible.

READ MORE: Kingston city staff propose change to curbside recycling program

People in Kingston are recycling, whether it’s at the curbside or physically bringing their recyclables to the Material Recovery Facility on Lappan’s Lane. Heather Roberts, solid waste services director for the city, says it’s getting done.

“Kingstonians are great recyclers,” she said. “Overall, Kingston is third in the province for its overall diversion rate.

“So that would include the blue and the grey box, the green bin, yard waste.”

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Sounding the alarm about dangerous materials in recycle bins
Sounding the alarm about dangerous materials in recycle bins

Roberts says the new “producer responsibility” model is coming and Kingston will be ready.

“Transitioning would mean that 100 per cent of the cost of delivering all the services related to recycling would be paid for by those producers,” Roberts explained. “So there’s a great opportunity for all Ontario municipalities.

“Instead of having that shared-cost model it would be all on the producers of those products and packaging.”

READ MORE: Is Canada’s recycling industry broken?

Roberts says the transition will begin Jan. 1, 2023. Other than that, she says there are more questions than answers.

“We’ve been looking at going to weekly blue and grey box collection for a number of years,” she said, “and I think we’re challenged at this point to say it’s not feasible at this time to make those changes because there’s too much risk and cost around it.”

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Kingston student residents learn to organize their trash
Kingston student residents learn to organize their trash

Because of that uncertainty, Roberts says a multi-million-dollar upgrade to Kingston’s recycling centre is not being recommended, but a million-dollar maintenance program is. On top of that,, the city’s current recycling contract runs out this June.

Kingston city council will be brought up to speed on all of that this coming Tuesday.