County advances plans for transition of recycling system to producers with conditional sale of MRF

Material Recovery Facility building

Cobourg, ON – March 27, 2023 – Northumberland County continues to move forward with plans to support the province-wide transition of responsibility for the recycling system from municipalities and First Nations over to producers of packaging and paper products. Following a public procurement process initiated in December 2022, the County has accepted a conditional offer from Emterra Environmental to purchase the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) property and facility in Grafton. This agreement was achieved through a competitive process, and includes the 16 acre property and the 55,000 square foot facility and material recovery equipment.

The sale of the MRF was initiated as a result of provincial plans for the transition to ‘Producer Responsibility’ between 2023 and 2026, where companies that design, create and market products and packaging will become fully responsible for managing and paying for the life cycle of these items. The province announced these plans in 2019 as a means of promoting recycling innovation and increasing Ontario’s recycling rates while reducing costs for taxpayers. With this transition, Northumberland County will continue to provide collection services for waste, green bin, and leaf and yard waste, but will no longer deliver recycling services.

In purchasing the MRF, Emterra Environmental aims to continue operating the site as a receiving facility for Blue Box materials and may possibly continue with processing and conditioning of materials, while preserving as many of the current staff positions as possible. The conditional offer to purchase is anticipated to close January 2024, in line with provincial transition timelines for Northumberland. Financials from the sale will be disclosed at that time.

“A public competitive procurement process was conducted by the County to ensure a strong return on this long-term investment,” stated County Warden Mandy Martin. “Over the past 26 years, our dedicated and hard-working staff at the MRF have pioneered innovative solutions to reduce our environmental footprint and provide exceptional service to the residents of Northumberland, diverting over 660 million pounds of waste from landfill. We are pleased to have reached an agreement with a respected environmental waste management company who will continue to manage Blue Box materials at the facility and engage current staff.”

While details about the transfer of Blue Box collection services for Northumberland have not yet been confirmed, the Province is currently projecting January 2024 as the date for when producers will assume responsibility for recycling collection services, locally. The County will be communicating with residents throughout 2023, as more information becomes available, to support the seamless transition of the local recycling system to producers.

More information about this transition is available on our 'Transition of recycling system to producers' page and on the Province of Ontario's website.