Phase one of Ontario pilot public spaces recycling program diverts 77 percent of beverage containers from landfill

To Press Releases listDec 9, 2009

Phase one of Ontario pilot public spaces recycling program diverts 77 percent of beverage containers from landfill

Diversion rate jumps 64 percent in City of Sarnia 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 that phase one of their pilot public spaces recycling program has resulted in a 77 percent diversion of beverage containers from landfill – a 64 percent improvement over earlier recycling efforts.

Public spaces recycling captures the “last mile” of recyclables – items eligible for Ontario’s Blue Box curbside recycling program but abandoned by consumers in parks spaces, recreational facilities like arenas, street scapes, transit stops, convenience stores and gas stations.

PET plastic beverage containers, such as juice, soft drink and water bottles, experienced the biggest improvement during phase one of the pilot, where diversion rates jumped to 76 percent from 44 percent, followed by clear glass (84 percent from 62 percent); aluminum cans (83 percent from 51 percent); coloured glass (77 percent from 65 percent); and HDPE plastic (68 percent from 26 percent).

The pilot also indicated that beverage containers account for just 5 percent of the waste stream in Sarnia parks, compared to miscellaneous items (50 percent); food and liquid compostables (25 percent); paper products (18 percent); plastic packaging, tubs, lids, jugs and jars (1 percent); and metal (.6 percent).

Amongst the miscellaneous items collected, household garbage accounted for 20 percent and diapers and sanitary products accounted for 5.1 percent.

Phase one of the pilot, designed and implemented by StewardEdge, was three months in duration and included strategically placed recycling bins, complemented by signage, public education and other communications initiatives. Waste audits were conducted before and after program implementation to measure the effectiveness of the initiative. At the end of phase two, program results will be forwarded to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for consideration as a future complement to the Province’s current Blue Box recycling program.

“We were very pleased with the results from the first phase of this program – and the residents of Sarnia are to be congratulated on their excellent levels of participation in recycling this past Summer,” said Ken Friesen, Director, StewardEdge. “The diversion rates experienced for beverage containers were equivalent to what one finds in those jurisdictions that deploy bottle deposit systems to collect recyclables and were higher than many residential Blue Box recycling programs.

“We are looking forward to getting the results from phase two in a few months to get a wider perspective on the effect of this pilot on the community.”

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 $13.7 million in funding for more than 70 projects in communities across the province. Several diverse new 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 contact:

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

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