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Waste Diversion Ontario launch first public spaces recycling in Ont.

First phase of program will see recyclables recovered from recreational parks


July 9, 2009
By Administrator

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July 9, 2009 – The City of Sarnia, Refreshments Canada, the Canadian
Bottled Water Association (CBWA), Nestlé Waters Canada and Waste
Diversion Ontario's Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF)has announced the
launch of the first pilot public spaces recycling program of its kind
in Ont.

July 9, 2009 – The City of Sarnia, Refreshments Canada, the Canadian Bottled Water Association (CBWA), Nestlé Waters Canada and Waste Diversion Ontario's Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF)has announced the launch of the first pilot public spaces recycling program of its kind in Ont., hosted by this south-western Ont. community located along the south shore of Lake Huron.

Public spaces recycling captures the "last mile" of recyclables – items typically found in Ontario's Blue Box curbside recycling program that are abandoned by consumers in park spaces, recreational facilities like arenas, street scapes, transit stops, bars and restaurants, elementary and secondary schools, convenience stores and gas stations.

First established by the Canadian beverage industry and the Government of Quebec and launched in Quebec in June 2008, this particular public spaces recycling methodology is achieving recovery rates as high as 85 percent for recyclables, including glass, aluminum, plastic and paper.

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Through its focus on public education campaigns and citizen participation, the initiative is augmenting the province's existing curbside program by increasing recycling rates.

Refreshments Canada, CBWA, Nestlé Waters Canada and the CIF are funding the cost of purchasing new recycling container infrastructure and/or re-engineering the City of Sarnia's existing containers as part of the two-phase pilot project. The industry coalition is also responsible for the overall management of the project as well as pre- and post-pilot measurement of the program. The City of Sarnia is responsible for assuming the operating cost associated with any changes to its current waste management services contract. The first phase of the program will take place in selected Sarnia parks. The second phase of the pilot begins in October in three Sarnia arenas.

Both pilot program phases, which are designed and implemented by StewardEdge, will be three months in duration and include strategically placed new bins, signage and public education. Additionally, waste audits conducted pre and post-implementation will measure the effectiveness of the initiative.

The results will be forwarded to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for consideration of this type of public spaces recycling as a future complement to the Province's current Blue Box program.

"While recycling rates in Ontario passed the 60 percent level two years ago, more needs to be done to reduce the amount of recyclables going to landfill," said Mike Bradley, Mayor, City of Sarnia.

"Rather than sit on the sidelines and do environmentally symbolic but ineffective actions that do not address the recycling issue – like banning the sale of bottled water in municipal facilities, Sarnia Council decided to take a leadership role. By doing so, Sarnia will help Ontarians to achieve considerably higher recycling rates by hosting the province's first pilot public spaces recycling program.

"We are confident that this pilot will be successful and, when it is, we will be encouraging the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to expand the Blue Box Program to include public spaces recycling."

"Adoption of this program in Ontario will complement the efficiency of the current Blue Box Program and provide consumers an additional mechanism to recycle when they are on the go. The pilot now underway in Sarnia mirrors that community's Blue Box system. To be effective, residents need to be able to behave the same way with their recyclables in public spaces as they do at home," explained Justin Sherwood, President, Refreshments Canada.

"Currently, public spaces recycling is eligible to receive 50 percent funding from industry, similar to the Blue Box Program. This pilot will hopefully encourage more municipalities to take advantage of this funding.

"We believe Ontario consumers not only want to practice recycling at home, they also want to practice it out-of-home. Expect to see meaningful environmental advances through this program."

"The beverage industry in Canada has a solid track record of introducing environmentally sustainable products and practices, including 100 per cent recyclable plastic beverage containers, comprehensive blue box recycling programs and, now, public spaces recycling," explains Elizabeth Griswold, Executive Director of the Canadian Bottled Water Association. "Children's toys, clothing, auto parts; there are many great uses for recycled plastic beverage containers and it's industry led initiatives like this one that make these containers into a recyclable resource and not landfill waste."

"Public spaces recycling can help beautify a community, increase participation in curbside recycling and bring additional revenues to the municipality, as all recyclables they collect are sold into commodities markets around the world."

"It is our objective to collect 100 percent of the plastic beverage containers we produce," explained Gail Cosman, President, Nestlé Waters Canada. "If the results we've seen in Quebec are any indication, the introduction of public spaces recycling in every province will go a long distance towards helping us to achieve that goal.

"It is our intention to support pilots across Canada that help to demonstrate the effectiveness of public spaces recycling – in the hopes that local and provincial governments will partner with us in the establishment of this program in every community across this country."