How often have you seen this graphic commonly used to signify Ontario’s Blue Box System? It’s even on Waste Diversion Ontario’s website. You’d be forgiven for thinking that bottles and cans are the only materials being recovered.
Wrong. Big Time. In fact, plastic, glass and metal containers represent just over 20% of what Ontario’s Blue Box System recovers. The rest (almost 80%) is paper of one kind or another, mainly old newspapers (ONP) and old corrugated (OCC).
The Real Blue Box
And what’s the most valuable material in Ontario’s Blue Box System?
While used aluminum cans are valuable in the sense that their worth in the marketplace is more than their cost to recover, the largest dollar contribution to Blue Box revenues is paper (specifically ONP and OCC). Indeed, if you put all paper together, sales of used paper fibre represented an impressive 60% of the total value of all Blue Box materials in 2010, the latest year for which data exists.
Material Revenues Ontario Blue Box
Of course, in provinces with beverage deposit programs, the dollar contribution to a Blue Box system from aluminum, steel, glass and plastic containers is greatly diminished, making the maximising of paper revenues even more important.