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Economics of Recycling


We toss our plastic, glass, and metal packaging into our blue bins. But what happens after the truck drives away? This course breaks down the economics of recycling by looking at its history, how recycling programs are funded and work! For information on where Ontario is going, check out our course: Ontario’s New Blue Box Program. Ecodemy’s purpose is to deliver engaging sustainability education tools to build a foundation for a greener future.  This Material Supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #12.

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What I will learn?

  • What is the purpose of recycling?
  • Brief History of Recycling in Canada
  • How is Recycling Funded?
  • What Happens After Your Blue Box is Emptied

Course Curriculum

HD Video Training – Economics of Recycling
Purpose of Recycling To alleviate pressures on the environment and the waste system, creating employment and attracting investments Canadian History of Recycling The switch from refillables to recyclables beverage containers during the 1980s resulted in significant increases in household waste generation in Ontario, by the late 1980s, Ontario was faced with a looming crisis in landfill capacity Beverage brand owners threatened job cuts and facility closures if the mandatory use of refillable containers were imposed (Pollution Probe, 1997). These threats were taken quite seriously, as the economic recession of the early 1980s forced policy planners to prioritize job preservation. Funding: Ontario Despite the successes of the Blue Box program, funding the recycling system remained a significant challenge. Revenue from recyclable material failed to meet expected levels, while the amount of material being managed by the residential recycling system increased by 50% over an eight year period (1990-1998) (Stewardship Ontario, 2012c). While industry continued to contribute financially towards the operation of the Blue Box program, municipalities struggled to cope with rising material management costs and became increasingly dependent on the government for financial assistance (Menzies, 1997).

  • Purpose and History of Recycling in Canada
  • Recycling: How it works
  • Benefits and Costs
  • Economics of Recyling Knowledge Check

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Student Ratings & Reviews

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Alicia Babbage
8 months ago
Great overall information when it comes to recycling. There can be a lot of unstated rules of thumb when it comes to recycling such as washing out your containers, drying them, the type of plastics, etc. The activities were a great way for participants to take a look into their own habits and how we can improve on an individual level.
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Course level:Beginner
Course Duration: 20m
Last Updated:September 17, 2023

Material Includes

  • HD Video Course Modules
  • Economics of Recycling Knowledge Check
  • Economics of Recycling Social Media Posts
  • Economics of Recycling Report
  • Two Economics of Recycling Activities



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