The Regional Municipality Of York


York Region takes full-circle approach to managing waste

Report provides update on initiatives outlined in Integrated Waste Management Plan

Newmarket – The Regional Municipality of York continues to take a full-circle approach when it comes to managing waste. The SM4RT Living Plan helps residents participate in initiatives focused on the four Rs; reduce, reuse, recycle and recover with a long-term vision of zero waste.

“York Region’s strong waste reduction efforts are resulting in a decrease in the amount of waste generated,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “This approach to waste management positions us as leaders in the Canadian municipal waste sector and is well-aligned with the province’s move towards a waste-free Ontario.”

The Balanced Scorecard report is updated annually and measures progress on programs delivered as part of the SM4RT Living Plan. The plan shifts focus from a linear economy of “take, make and dispose” to a more sustainable circular economy which considers product and packaging design, consumer choices and reusing, recycling and composting as a better way to manage waste in the Region.

Linear Economy Graphic

Circular Economy Graphic

York Region continues to advocate for an Ontario-wide effort to reduce litter and waste in our communities. This is a crucial step in addressing the challenges faced by the Blue Box program where increasingly complex packaging is causing consumer confusion over what can be recycled. Convenience products such as re-sealable plastic pouches, coffee pods, coffee cups, black plastics, plastic bags, recyclables in plastic bags and food left in containers are not recyclable at all. When these products are mistakenly placed in the Blue Box, they negatively impact the blue box system.

Additionally, recycling markets have become increasingly restrictive on what they accept and the level of contamination they will tolerate. Contamination can jeopardize the success of the entire Blue Box program.

“The continued success of this plan is made possible by collaborating with our residents, local municipalities and community organizations,” said City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Mario Ferri, Chair of Environmental Services. “By continuing to promote the four Rs and leveraging technology, residents are well-equipped with the tools to form behaviour-changing habits and further reduce waste.”

To address the growing concern and challenges to achieving sustainable waste management practices, the scorecard highlights initiatives in the following areas:

  1. Products and packaging: Advocating the province to make producers fully responsible for collecting and recycling their products and packaging. This will drive producers to make better packaging and product designs that are recyclable, as well as generate more recycling markets to turn these materials into new products.
  2. Influence consumer choices: Providing residents with opportunities for reuse and repair through innovative programs such as repair cafés, curbside giveaway days, textile diversion and lending libraries. The grand opening of York Region’s first Lendery is taking place on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Milliken Mills Library in the City of Markham.
  3. Increasing diversion through recycling and composting: Providing convenient, easily accessible recycling programs, generating energy and reclaiming resources, such as metals from waste, and increasing the opportunities for recycled material to become new products and packaging. The Region also strongly supports a deposit return program for single use-plastic, aluminum and metal drink containers to augment the curbside Blue Box program.

York Region will continue to update and refine the initiatives of the SM4RT Living plan to ensure it is well-aligned with the province’s shift towards a circular economy.

For more information on the plan, visit

The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents and 52,000 businesses with over 636,600 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available at

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Media Contact:

Masrine Guthrie-Peart, Corporate Communications, The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 1-877-464-9675 ext. 77272 or Cell: 905-251-6416

York Region; waste; managing waste The Regional Municipality of York en-US Media Release