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QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to the finalized Blue Box regulations:

“I’m glad to see there’s finally progress being made on Ontario’s flawed recycling program.

I agree with transferring recycling costs to the product manufacturers that are creating waste in the first place. It’s important to take the burden off municipalities and taxpayers.

I have long called for shifting costs to producers, so I’m encouraged to see it finally happening.

And I support changes that streamline and standardize the system and make recycling more accessible and available across the province.

But if we want to tackle the issue of plastic waste in Ontario, the Premier needs to take immediate action by banning single-use plastic bottles and coffee cups in Ontario, which were left off the federal list of banned single-use plastics.

My fear is that the Premier does not understand that our plastic waste problem is reaching a crisis point. I am worried that plastics will continue to pile up in landfills, parks, and lakes.

The Great Lakes alone collect an estimated 10,000 metric tonnes of plastic every year.

And tonnes more ends up in wetlands, parks, greenspaces and rivers.

Plastics pollute the water, damage our natural spaces, and hurt wildlife.

And we know how harmful microplastics are to our health.

So while I’m in support of the Blue Box changes, the Premier must immediately ban single-use plastic bottles and coffee cups in Ontario if we want to get serious on tackling plastic pollution.”

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