Beverage industry, Waste Diversion Ontario, City of Sarnia launch first pilot public spaces recycling of its kind in Ontario

To Press Releases listJul 8, 2009

Beverage industry, Waste Diversion Ontario, City of Sarnia launch first pilot public spaces recycling of its kind in Ontario

First phase of program will see recyclables recovered from recreational parks

SARNIA, Ontario – The City of Sarnia, Refreshments Canada, the Canadian Bottled Water Association (CBWA), Nestlé Waters Canada and Waste Diversion Ontario’s Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF) today announced the launch of the first pilot public spaces recycling program of its kind in Ontario, hosted by this south-western Ontario 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. 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.”

About The City of Sarnia

Established in 1836, the City of Sarnia is a municipality of approximately 72,000 people situated on the south shore of Lake Huron at the headwaters of the St. Clair River. The city is noted for its breathtaking sky blue water and beautiful waterfront parks. Sarnia is also one of Ontario's principal gateways to the United States. Its modern rail tunnel and twin Bluewater Bridges form an important transportation system for one of the busiest commercial border crossings in the world. Sarnia's proximity to the United States provides an international flavour to the city and provides visitors with the unique opportunity to enjoy the amenities of both countries. Sarnia is a vibrant and healthy city and one that is proud of its past, happy with its present and excitedly anticipating and planning for its future.

For further information, please visit our web site at or contact:

Lloyd Fennell
City Manager
City of Sarnia
Telephone: (519) 332 0330, Extension 230

About Waste Diversion Ontario’s Continuous Improvement Fund

Waste Diversion Ontario’s Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF) provides grants and loans to municipalities to execute projects that will increase the efficiency of municipal Blue Box recycling and help boost system effectiveness. The CIF started in January 2008 and has a three-year mandate to direct funding support to projects that will:

  • Identify and implement best practices;
  • Examine and test emerging technologies;
  • Employ innovative solutions to increase Blue Box materials marketed; and
  • Promote gains in cost-effectiveness that can be implemented province-wide.


To date, the CIF has approved approximately $12.9 million in funding for more than 50 projects in communities across the province and another 20 project applications are currently under review.

For further information, please visit our web site at or or contact:

Andy Campbell
Director, Continuous Improvement Fund
Waste Diversion Ontario
Telephone: (705) 719-7913

About Refreshments Canada

Refreshments Canada is the national trade association representing the broad spectrum of brands and companies that manufacture and distribute the majority of non-alcoholic liquid refreshment beverages consumed in Canada. Refreshments Canada represents more than 40 brands of juices, juice drinks, bottled waters, sports drinks, ready-to-serve iced teas and coffees, new-alternative beverages, carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages.

For further information please visit our web site at or contact:

Justin Sherwood
Refreshments Canada
Telephone: (416) 510-8024, Extension 2290

About The Canadian Bottled Water Association

The Canadian Bottled Water Association (CBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters. Founded in 1992, CBWA's membership includes Canadian bottlers, distributors and suppliers. CBWA is committed to working with Health Canada, which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and provincial governments to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products. Additionally, CBWA requires member bottlers to adhere to the CBWA Bottled Water Model Code, which mandates additional standards and practices, that, in some cases, are more stringent than federal and provincial regulations. A key feature of the CBWA Bottled Water Model Code is an annual unannounced plant inspection by an independent, third party organization.

For more information, please visit our web site at or contact:

Elizabeth Griswold
Executive Director
Canadian Bottled Water Association
Telephone: (905) 886-6928

About Nestlé Waters Canada

Established in 2000, Nestlé Waters Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nestlé Waters North America of Greenwich, Connecticut. With headquarters in the Township of Puslinch, bottling facilities in Hope, British Columbia, and Puslinch and distribution facilities in Chilliwack, British Columbia; Puslinch and Laval, Quebec, approximately 500 employees support a network of more than 145 retailers across Canada.

For further information, please visit our web site at or or contact:

John B. Challinor II   APR
Director, Corporate Affairs
Nestle Waters Canada
Telephone: 1 888 565-1445, Ext. 6441

Jamie Jo Alton
National Public Relations
Telephone: (416) 848-1370

About StewardEdge

Based in Toronto, StewardEdge includes North America's leading experts in product stewardship and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) with a thirty year experience in designing and implementing recycling programs in North America and internationally. Its mission is to design, implement, and manage cost effective, sustainable packaging and product stewardship programs. 

For more information contact:

Ken Friesen
Telephone: (416) 646-1550