Redefining Recycling: Ontario’s Proactive Blue Box Shift

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The linear economy’s ‘take-make-dispose’ approach has led to escalating CO2 emissions, intricate global supply chains, and mismanaged waste. However, the winds of change are blowing. Governments are increasingly aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, to promote a circular economy. Europe has been a frontrunner in the circular economy, placing stringent regulations like the Packaging Waste, and Batteries Directives that make producers responsible for financing collection, recycling, and end-of-life disposal of products. However, North America, particularly Canada, is still catching up.

Across Canada, there are two different programs to manage products at their end-of-life.

  1. Product stewardship: This approach places the responsibility of managing end-of-life products on provincial or municipal governments. It often involves environmental fees or public funds as a funding base.
  2. Extended producer responsibility (EPR): This is the end-of-life management of products and is the responsibility of producers.  

This summer, the Blue Box Recycling Program in Ontario underwent a significant transformation.  Spearheaded by the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) and to enhance the efficiency of resource recovery the responsibility of recycling has shifted from municipalities to producers. EPR is central to Ontario’s new Blue Box program. It encourages producers to design more recyclable packaging and take greater responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products. 

For compliance with EPR, companies are required to manage and finance the end-of-life of their products. This includes the costs associated with collection, recycling, and disposal. Failure to comply can result in penalties, although the specifics can vary by jurisdiction. The key is to internalize these costs as a factor of production or pass them on to consumers. It’s crucial for companies to stay abreast of the evolving regulations to avoid any legal repercussions.

The Business Case for Going Green

Transferring accountability to producers incentivizes them to design packaging that is easier to recycle and assumes greater responsibility for their product’s entire lifecycle. This is a win-win situation, aligning businesses with the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly practices.

The new program isn’t just about recycling but resource recovery and business resilience.  Progressive organizations have transformed their business models by reframing waste as a valuable resource to maximize utilization.  By focusing on reclaiming valuable metals and materials, businesses can reduce their reliance on raw materials. This aligns with global trends toward responsible resource management, offering a competitive edge to those who participate. 

Businesses can partner with specialized recycling facilities to meet their obligations under the Blue Box Regulation. Certifications such as R2 (Responsible Recycling) or e-Stewards can enhance a company’s reputation for waste management. 

Your Path to a Zero-Waste Future

If you’re a business leader in Ontario, this framework is more than a policy change; it’s a call to action to redefine your approach to waste management and environmental responsibility.  

At YellowYellow, we are available to help businesses navigate these changes. The transition to producer responsibility in the Blue Box program is a stepping stone to building a more sustainable business.  Boosting recycling rates and reducing your company’s environmental footprint are steps towards a zero-waste future.

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Jeff Garcia-Seminario

Associate

He holds a Bachelor of Anthropology from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru) and a Masters in Science in Sustainability and Responsibility  (Ashridge Business School, UK).   As a lifelong learner, he recently completed a Global Business Management (High Honours) at Seneca College in Toronto. 

Jeff brings global experience in leading corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community engagement projects in the extractive sector.   Jeff excels in stakeholder mapping, community engagement, and conflict resolution.   Applying his private and public sector experiences, Jeff can bridge cultural and historical divides between extractive industries and their communities.  His areas of focus include food security, sustainable procurement, and good governance. Most recently, Jeff contributed to the development of an ESG strategy for a multi-national company.  

Jeff’s native language is Spanish. He enjoys morning runs in the neighbouring parks.

Kaitlyn D'Lima

Associate

Kaitlyn D’Lima holds both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science and Sustainability Management degree from the University of Toronto.   She is also trained in greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting.

She brings extensive experience in sustainability and business transformational projects. She is known for her ability to execute projects of any size with both urgency and accuracy.   Kaitlyn has a natural talent for improving stakeholder engagement. She’s a real trailblazer when it comes to benchmarking and research.

Kaitlyn is a runner who participates in outdoor adventure races.

Arun Balu Pazhayannur

Advisor

Arun B Pazhayannur holds a degree in mechanical engineering and is a Chartered Accountant. He also has an MBA from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario. Along with his academic achievements, he has a thorough knowledge of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles, which he incorporates into his consulting work. 

Arun is well-known for his leadership abilities as well as his strong skills in data analysis, financial modeling, and operations management. He has been recognized for his ability to identify practical solutions and deliver value to clients ranging from banks to payment companies to software providers. Arun is also a past President of Toastmasters Club. 

In his free time, Arun enjoys scuba diving.In his spare time, Arun likes to scuba dive. 

Gregory Donovan

Senior Advisor

Gregory  Donovan is a Chartered Accountant. He is a Fundamentals of Sustainable Accounting (FSA) Credential Holder.  He obtained an Honours in Business Adminstrations (HBA) from the Ivey Business School (Western University) and a Master or Laws (LLM) from the London School of Economics. Gregory is the CEO of Avondale Private Capital, a sustainable finance firm focused on energy transition finance and carbon markets.  He has presented on these topics at conferences in Canada, the US and UK.  

Greg participates in the occasional triathlon and loves to go skiing and sailing with his two young children.

Margaux Loptson

Associate & US Operations Lead

Margaux Loptson holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and a Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) from Pennsylvania State University. In addition, she holds several research certifications, including Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

She has been an essential player in AI-powered teaching and learning projects as a User Experience (UX) lead.  Margaux is known for applying her design thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills to make a positive impact. She is a native French speaker

Margaux is a fitness enthusiast who can be found hiking around Central Park in NYC.

Ritika Jain

Associate / Responsible Supply Chain Lead

Ritika Jain holds a Masters in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management from Lund University (Sweden)  and a Bachelor of Technology from Indraprastha University (India). As a lifelong learner, she is pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Toronto.

Ritika is a recycling and responsible supply chain specialist.  Through her work, she collaborates with organizations to implement circular economy focused policies to ensure compliance with regulations.  

Her proficiency in data analytics and with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) enable her to manage complex sustainability data. Ritika also volunteers with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, engaging with youth to drive positive change.  

Ritika is a native Hindi speaker.  She is a certified hiking leader who enjoys travelling.

Jonathan Spence

Associate & Western Canada Operations Lead

Jonathan Spence holds an Honours Bachelor of Integrated Sciences (Earth and Environmental Sciences) from McMaster University and has his certification in Geographic Information Sciences from the ESRI Canada Center of Excellence at McMaster University. Jonathan worked as a research analyst in the environment and sustainability group for a TSX listed company.  

He is pursuing his Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, where he is researching the development of carbon capture techniques and their applications to the mining industry.  Jonathan is focused on helping companies to minimize their carbon footprint while supporting their economic growth.   

Jonathan is an avid water polo player and coach. He plays for the local National Championship League team. 

Gurnoor Gandhi

VP Business Development & Strategic Partnerships

Gurnoor Gandhi holds an MBA from Ivey Business School (Western University) and a postgraduate diploma in Maritime Energy Management (Sweden). Gurnoor brings experience with sustainability frameworks including TCFD, GRI, and CDP and is pursuing FSA credential (SASB). 

Gurnoor has global leadership experience in the shipping industry managing assets worth millions of dollars on the high seas and has led diverse teams worked in Monaco, Singapore, and India. Most recently, he led organizational development and client partnerships at CARD, a non-profit focused on rural development and renewable energy.

Gurnoor brings a blend of technical and leadership skills. He applied his knowledge of greenhouse gas accounting and carbon capture to support clients with niche energy transition projects. He is known for putting his problem-solving, stakeholder management, and project management skills to work to help firms expedite their ESG Journey. 

Gurnoor is a certified BMW adventure motorcyclist who finds off-road rides rejuvenating for body and spirit.  He enjoys hiking with his family.

Lisa-Annabel Ellis

Founder & CEO

Lisa Annabel Ellis holds an Honours Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Ivey Business School (Western University). She is a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP) with a Six Sigma Green Belt. Lisa is a Fundamentals of Sustainable Accounting (FSA) Level II Candidate. Applying her deep expertise in business and operational strategies, she has led award-winning transformational initiatives.

Drawing on her well-rounded science and finance expertise, she launched YellowYellow to help clients advance their sustainability practices. As an advocate of transparency and good governance, she partners with clients to understand their risks and opportunities to generate superior long-term value. Stakeholders across the value chain recognize the impact of this effort. She has been called upon to be a keynote speaker and lecturer.

Lisa is an advanced scuba diver who enjoys most water-related sports.