Reflecting on the Blue Box and Curbside Recycling

We recently came across an amazing tribute video put together by the Region of Waterloo, Reflecting on the blue box: A tribute video. This video shows how far curbside recycling has come over the years, and briefly discusses the new legislation that is putting the responsibility of curbside recycling collection into the hands of producers. 

Busch Systems and the History of the Blue Box

Much of the history of the blue box is embedded into the history of Busch Systems, so excuse us as we take a quick trip down memory lane for a second! Craig Busch fondly remembers driving through Kitchener with his business partner at the time going “Wow! Look at all of the boxes!” His goal was to improve the bins that were lining these residential streets – which he did! In 1985 Craig founded Busch Systems, coming to market with a lighter, more durable recycling bin with an inaugural order of bins from the City of Hamilton. This of course turned into more orders from other cities across Ontario, including Barrie, Innisfil and the City of Waterloo. 

Busch Systems Curbside containers now come in a variety of sizes but are still the recognizable curbside containers you are used to seeing on city streets! 

Blue curbside recycling container beside a residential home

The Busch Systems Curbside Recycling Container – still a staple product today!


Producer Responsibility

At the time of its inception, municipalities were 100% responsible for the cost of the program. As of July 1, 2023, however, the responsibility of the Blue Box Program in Ontario has transition to the packaging producers, with a full transition within the Province of Ontario by December 31st, 2025. This is an exciting change for the world of recycling as this means a unified recycling system across Ontario is soon to come! Regardless of where you are recycling, the materials collected will be the same. 

“The legacy of the blue box program will continue to inspire improvement” Michael Ursu, Manager Waste Management 

Congratulations to the Region of Waterloo! We look forward to this continual shift of responsibility to the producers, not only in Ontario but around the world!


Additional Resources

Click here for more information on Circular Materials Ontario.

Learn more about the story of Busch Systems here!