Carton Council to fund projects to improve recovery in Ontario

The Carton Council of Canada (CCC) is looking for municipalities and waste management companies operating material recovery facilities (MRFs) in Ontario, to propose projects that will improve the rate of carton recovery in Ontario.

The CCC has allocated $70,000 to support projects brought forward through this Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) in 2022.

“Carton Council of Canada believes that collaboration among industry stakeholders is one of the most important ways we can help optimize the recovery of cartons,” says Isabelle Faucher, the council’s managing director.

“The goal of this REOI is to encourage positive, productive and creative thinking about ways we can work together to achieve better carton recovery outcomes.”

Carton recovery in Ontario

Over the last fourteen years, carton collection/recovery rates have more than doubled in Canada, increasing from 26% to 55% in 2022.

But while the carton performance has doubled nationally, the carton recovery rate in Ontario has been declining. In fact, the province’s carton recovery rate dropped from to 52.7% in 2019 to 40.3% in 2022.

While some of this decrease may be attributable to the methodology used to calculate the carton recovery performance, challenges such as Covid-19, labour shortages, access to technology and market conditions have also likely contributed to the decline in performance.

“It’s been a challenging time for the recycling industry,” says Faucher. “We hope that by offering an opportunity for recycling operators to put forward their ideas, we can support the development of successful grassroots solutions. We also hope that funding from CCC can reduce the financial burden and risk to REOI respondents as they test initiatives prior to a full-scale rollout.”

CCC also believes that the impending transition to a producer-led framework under Ontario’s new Blue Box Regulation presents an important opportunity for future municipal and private service providers. Cartons will be on the list of mandated items for collection, and there will most likely be a requirement to sort them into their own grade (ISRI Grade 52 spec bales).

Implementing actions now can help actors get ready for the transition by positioning respondents as strategic long-term partners to Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs) and their producers.

Project outline

To be eligible for consideration, expressions of interest must be submitted no later than 6 pm ET on July 4, 2022. Projects must be completed no later than May 4, 2024.

Expressions of interest pertaining to the following areas of focus will be considered:

  • Consulting services to enable or to optimize, carton sorting processes. This includes any or all of MRF configuration, sorter placement, technology and storage.
  • Financing for audits (e.g., inbound material, container stream, paper stream, bales, etc.), pilot projects and equipment. Examples of the latter include investments in automation (optical sorters, robots), extensions to existing conveyors and the splitting of bunkers to allocate room for sorted cartons.
  • Awareness campaigns to increase the quantity of cartons in the stream.
  • Any other focus area that would benefit carton recovery.

Cartons do not have to be the sole focus of the project and can be part of a broader initiative. Full details related to eligibility and the REOI application process can be found here.