Sarnia pilot public spaces recycling program successful

To Press Releases listMay 16, 2010

Sarnia pilot public spaces recycling program successful

75% of beverage containers diverted in phase one, up to 84% diverted in phase two

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 both phases of the pilot public spaces program that took place in Sarnia during the Spring, Summer and Fall of last year were successful, with 75% of beverage containers diverted during phase one and up to 84% of them diverted during phase two.

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 and recreational facilities like arenas, street scapes, transit stops, bars and restaurants, elementary and secondary schools, convenience stores and gas stations.

The first phase of the Sarnia program took place in three parks and resulted in an average diversion rate of 75% for beverage containers, including aluminum cans, gable top, asceptic containers and glass and plastic bottles – a 73.5% increase over the previous result. Beverage containers accounted for 15% of the waste stream by weight in Sarnia parks.

The second phase of the program took place in three Sarnia arenas and eight Mac’s Convenience Stores/gas bars. The arenas experienced an average diversion rate of 73% for beverage containers. There was no recycling program in place prior to the implementation of the pilot. The convenience stores/gas bars experienced an 84% diversion rate for beverage containers. There was no recycling program in place prior to the establishment of the pilot. Beverage containers accounted for 18% of the waste stream by weight in Sarnia arenas. They accounted for 13% of the waste stream by weight in Mac’s Convenience Stores and gas bars.

First established by the Canadian beverage industry and the Government of Quebec and launched as a three-year program (now four years) in Quebec in June 2008, this particular public spaces recycling methodology is achieving excellent recovery rates 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.

The Canadian beverage industry established Canada’s first permanent public spaces program in Manitoba in April. Pilot programs are also underway this year in the regional municipalities of Niagara and Halifax.

“Sarnia is now the home of Ontario’s first and most effective public spaces recycling program,” said Mike Bradley, Mayor, City of Sarnia. “The pilot public spaces recycling program helped our community to kick-start the greening of Sarnia parks and arenas in a significant fashion. We are implementing what we learned during the pilot in other parks and public spaces throughout the city and encourage the Government of Ontario to work with the Canadian beverage industry to include public spaces recycling as a permanent complement to the Blue Box program in this province.”

“The implementation of the public spaces recycling program has been a success and, while there are still challenges to overcome, recycling rates for beverage containers have improved significantly in that community,” explained Justin Sherwood, President, Refreshments Canada. “The recovery rate for the beverage container stream is impressive, with no venue recovering less than 73% of total containers generated, on average.”

“We were confident that this pilot program would be successful – and we weren’t disappointed,” explains Elizabeth Griswold, Executive Director of the Canadian Bottled Water Association. “The results speak for themselves and the conclusion to be drawn is simply this: public spaces recycling must become a part of the future waste management mix in Ontario and elsewhere across Canada.”

“The success of this program would not have been possible without the leadership shown by Sarnia Council, the teamwork exhibited by City of Sarnia staff and the enthusiastic participation of the residents of Sarnia,” explained John Zupo, President, Nestlé Waters Canada. “The Sarnia pilot has proven vital in our efforts to encourage every province across Canada to adopt public spaces recycling as one of the most visible and effective aspects of their recycling mix.”

Refreshments Canada, CBWA, Nestlé Waters Canada and the CIF funded the cost of purchasing new recycling container infrastructure as part of the two-phase pilot project – and turned the infrastructure over to the City of Sarnia following the conclusion of the pilot program.

The pilot results, prepared by program consultant StewardEdge, are being 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.

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 $17.3 million in funding for more than 127 projects in communities across the province and another 180 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 1970, 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 450 employees support a network of more than 145 retailers across Canada.

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

John 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