Questions remain for Sault Ste. Marie as the deadline for the transition to recycling approaches

As time passes for the city of Sault Ste. Marie to transition local recycling and hazardous waste programs to producer responsibility, city officials have a few questions they would like answered.

Ontario requires municipalities to implement a comprehensive producer responsibility system by 2025, which would place the responsibility for product disposal on the shoulders of businesses rather than cities.

The city will negotiate with what are called Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs), which collect and recycle materials on behalf of producers.

It is believed that the PROs will take care of residential collection while the municipalities will take care of the commercial and industrial sectors, but city officials have said the transition is not that simple.

“Most municipalities have one similar to ours where residents and businesses are tied together, so we can’t quite decipher how that will be done at the contract level,” said Susan Hamilton Beach, director of public works.

Hamilton Beach said the city would also lose autonomy over how collection is handled when transitioning to a producer responsibility system.

The city has questions about this, and whether regional depots or return-to-retail collection systems will be put in place.

“How is the model selected and whether or not it will be in Sault Ste. Marie’s interest at that time, we are strictly at the table trying to ask those questions,” she said.

The City of Sault Ste. Marie plans to transition to full producer responsibility by September 30, 2023.