CIF Connections Blog

Big program change is possible!

Municipal operators face many barriers to making changes in their programming, whether they be councillors, residents, and even internal disagreement about the right course of action.  This week’s blog showcases one municipality that was willing to make a major change to its program in a short time period to secure better market access for fiber materials and reduce its processing costs. It acted decisively in the face of challenge and achieved significant success. A tight transition timeline – but doable! [...]

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CIF’s 2019 Operations Plan: Funding Opportunities and Events This Year

At its December 2018 meeting, the CIF Committee approved the CIF’s 2019 Operations Plan, which reflects the priorities communicated by Fund stakeholders through a consultation process that is currently under way for the CIF’s new Strategic Plan. Details about the consultation can be found on the CIF web site at and input to date is reflected in this year’s Operations Plan. The 2019 Operations Plan: reflects the desire of stakeholders to focus CIF resources towards supporting efforts to transition the Blue Box Program [...]

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‘Tis the Season for Wrapping!

A picture’s worth 1,000 words We’ve all heard the saying, but is it true? The City of Ottawa set out to test the theory. Faced with low capture and high contamination rates in its Multi-Residential (MR) recycling stream, the City of Ottawa decided to pilot a new approach building on a simple truth.  If a picture is indeed worth 1,000 words, why not cover Front End Loading bins (FELs) in colourful wraps that feature images of exactly what the City wants [...]

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Get help with stats: New CIF tool and example from Wellington County

When reviewing audit, survey or other project data and trying to interpret the results, you may have asked: “Does my data achieve statistical significance?” This is one of the biggest and arguably most important questions to answer before you start your project because it will inform how many samples you need to collect. To help, CIF in partnership with the Waste Wiki team has created a Sample Size Calculator. The calculator is an excel document that will estimate the number of samples [...]

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Marketing Blue Box Commodities Matters: A Financial Comparison of Multiple Approaches – Part 2

If you recall from part 1 of our series on the marketing of recyclables, a key objective was to outline the pros and cons of the various marketing approaches that municipalities could pursue. In this blog, we present a financial comparison of the approaches with the intent being that municipalities and municipal programs utilize the data internally to evaluate the effectiveness of their approach. Revenue from the sale of containers in five different communities over the past three years (July [...]

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Updates on Ontario Recycling Programs

If you’ve missed some CIF blogs this fall and wonder where they went, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a quick recap of some of the top blogs from the past couple of months – so you can keep up with what’s happening in Ontario recycling programs and with key issues like managing contamination, markets, planning for the future and more. Without further ado…this fall’s Top 4…! Contamination: In a recent study, the City of Barrie sought to determine what the financial [...]

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Better Practices – Are They Actually Improving Our Programs? Municipalities Weigh In

“Better practice.” It’s well known phrase and your ears probably perk up every time a new idea is framed in these terms. And you may wonder – did that idea ever get implemented? Did it work, was it worth the cost and effort and where can I find out? The CIF Working Groups have got you covered! Established Best Practices, such as those promoted by RPRA, have been guiding Blue Box programming in Ontario since they were first published. However, the [...]

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Waste Composition Study Results Available Now: Essential Reading for Blue Box Program Staff

How much & what’s the mix? (photo source: AET Group) Want to Measure Your Program’s Performance? Use the New Waste Audit Data to Find Out Where it Fits Program operators need to have reliable data to measure performance and plan for the future – but gathering this information is time-consuming and expensive. To remove the burden from individual programs, the CIF and Stewardship Ontario conduct and share results of waste composition studies in municipalities throughout the province (thecif.ca/waste-composition-studies/). This data delivered [...]

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Marketing Blue Box Commodities Matters: What Strategies Do Ontario Programs Use?

We often discuss how to collect or sort blue box recyclables but if they aren’t marketed effectively, your program’s finances may suffer. But how do you know? Here’s what an expert had to say. Recyclable Materials Marketing (ReMM) surveyed 14 Ontario municipalities that represent 77% of Ontario’s population to identify the most common marketing approaches and the pros and cons of each. Here’s a summary. MRF contractor markets all material (with or without revenue share): used by 8 programs surveyed [...]

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Use your digital media to get your message out: Peel did!

High contamination rates got you stumped? Peel Region transitioned from curbside Blue Box service to an automated cart based collection system in January 2016. Cart based service offers residents more storage capacity so they can set out more recyclables. The good news is that the amount of recycling set out by residents has increased; the bad news is so has the amount of unwanted, untargeted items. Prior to implementing cart-based collection, recycling contamination was over 10 percent and now, with curbside [...]

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