Each year, WDO requires municipalities to complete the Municipal Datacall in order to be eligible for funding for the Blue Box Program. 


To be eligible for funding, Ontario Municipalities, First Nations, and Recycling Associations that provided Blue Box services must complete the annual Datacall. In cases where the tonnage, costs, and revenues associated with these services are being reported by another municipal program, completion of the annual Datacall is not required.


The 2014 Datacall can be accessed here.



December 17, 2015 – Recycling tonnages on the decline while participation increases


The Municipal Datacall is Ontario’s comprehensive online reporting system and database primarily for the residential waste overseen by WDO. Each year to be eligible for Blue Box Program funding, municipalities must complete the Municipal Datacall.


In the Datacall, municipalities report the tonnages (i.e., weights) and financial information for Blue Box materials collected from local residents. In addition, WDO asks municipalities to submit tonnage data for all other non-Blue Box materials the municipality oversees, including hazardous waste, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, organics, garbage, and other materials.


In 2014, 237 municipalities, recycling associations and First Nations submitted information to WDO through the Datacall. This information is being used to develop the annual 2014 Datacall series of reports that include:

•  2014 Blue Box Tonnage Highlights (Residential);
•  2014 Blue Box Program Cost & Revenue;
•  2014 Non-Blue Box Recyclables Trends (Residential);
•  2014 Organics Trends (Residential); and 
•  2014 Residential Waste Diversion Rates by municipal program, municipal grouping, and the province overall.


The first report, “2014 Blue Box Tonnage Highlights (Residential)”, is available here. This report lists the tonnes of recyclables marketed (i.e., the amounts sold after residues have been removed following collection) for a defined list of printed paper and packaging materials. It includes links to two spreadsheets with information on municipal program breakdowns of the 2014 Blue Box tonnages and types of Blue Box materials marketed in 2014 by municipal program.


In 2014, the total amount of Blue Box materials marketed across Ontario declined by about two per cent when compared to 2013 (884,504 tonnes versus 900,135 tonnes). This is mainly due to reductions in all paper categories, including newsprint, as well as decreases in the amounts of glass and steel packaging marketed.


Meanwhile, over the past five years, the amount of plastic packaging marketed in the province has risen by over 50%. This increase can be attributed to municipal programs accepting a wider variety of plastics, this is an important factor given the significant reduction in the weight of many plastic packages. For example, the current weight of the half-litre plastic water bottle has decreased by 50% over the past 14 years.


This “evolving tonne” is significantly affecting our province’s recycling performance. Ontario will likely continue to experience overall lower recycling tonnages for printed paper and packaging because:

•  Product packaging is becoming thinner, smaller, and lighter (“light-weighting”);
•  Packaging is shifting from heavier to lighter materials (e.g., glass to plastic); and
•  Newspapers and magazines are moving to an online format.


Fortunately, lower recycling tonnages are not by any means a reflection of recycling behaviour. People in communities across Ontario continue to embrace and participate enthusiastically in the Blue Box Program. Their recyclables simply weigh less, and their efforts are not being reflected in the tonnages reported of marketed Blue Box materials. The “evolving tonne” has to do with increasing volume and significantly decreasing weight (tonnes). This makes it more and more difficult to accurately portray the real picture of our progress on residential waste diversion using the current weight metric.


WDO’s Blue Box Cost Containment Panel has recommended that we complete an Ontario “Implications of the Evolving Tonne on the Ontario Blue Box Program” study to identify the cost implications of the changing Blue Box material mix over time. In addition, the Panel concluded that “a methodology is needed to report on volume, as well as weight.”

We will share next steps on these and other Panel recommendations.


October 6, 2015 – WDO Board Selects PwC to Conduct 2014 Datacall Audits


On September 23, the WDO Board reviewed responses to the August 19th RFP and selected PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to audit the Blue Box sections of the 2014 Datacall submissions of 20 municipal programs. The 20 programs to be audited are identified in the RFP.


This year, municipalities/recycling association were selected for an audit due to one of four reasons:

• Significantly high costs with a population of under 5,000;
• An increase of at least 5% in total residential Blue Box costs (including operational, Promotion & Education, material handling, collection, and processing costs), compared to their 2013 Datacall results;
• A large year-over-year increase in net cost per tonne, compared to other programs within their own municipal grouping; or
• Computerized random selection.


During the audit PwC will review the Blue Box sections of the 2014 Municipal Datacall submissions to determine if:

• Costs were entered correctly in the Datacall online form;
• Costs entered match the municipal program’s financial records (i.e., General Ledger);
• The appropriate costs were removed for both non-Blue Box waste (other recyclables and disposed waste) and Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) material, which is not funded as part of the Blue Box Program; and
• Collected and/or marketed Blue Box tonnes and the corresponding allocations for IC&I recyclable materials are accurate.


WDO aims to return the audit reports to municipalities before the submission of the following year’s Datacall. This allows the applicable municipalities to improve their Datacall reporting based on the auditor’s findings.


June 18, 2015 – WDO Board of Directors' Decision on 2015 Blue Box Funding for Municipalities

To view the WDO Board of Directors' Decision on 2015 Blue Box Funding for Municipalities, please click here.


February 26, 2015 – 2013 Residential Waste Diversion Rates


The 2013 residential waste diversion rates based on Municipal Datacall submissions to WDO are now available (see links to spreadsheets below). The residential waste diversion rate is the percentage of Blue Box and other residential material reported to WDO that is kept out of landfill.


The annual Municipal Datacall online reports for 2013 were submitted last year by 226 municipalities, recycling associations and First Nations, representing over 400 municipalities or 98 per cent of Ontario’s total population. Municipalities are required to complete the Municipal Datacall to be eligible for Blue Box Program funding.


In addition to Blue Box data, in order to calculate the residential waste diversion rates, WDO asks municipalities to also report in the Datacall the weights (in tonnes) of all other residential waste materials they collect locally, including hazardous or special waste, electrical and electronic equipment, organics, garbage, and other recyclables such as scrap metal.


The residential waste diversion rates for all participating municipalities are listed in the following two spreadsheets:

The 2013 Ontario Residential Waste Diversion Rates report includes the method for calculating the rates and trends in residential waste diversion over the last five years.


For 2013, the following municipalities all achieved a residential waste diversion rate of at least 50 per cent, meaning they diverted more materials than they sent to landfill:

  • City of Guelph (69.15%)
  • City of Orillia (63.75%)
  • Municipality of Meaford (61.11%)
  • Regional Municipality of York (58.58%)
  • City of Owen Sound (58.30%)
  • Township of West Grey (57.79%)
  • County of Simcoe (55.73%)
  • City of Kingston (55.60%)
  • County of Oxford (55.07%)
  • City of Peterborough (54.71%)
  • Township of Dysart et al (54.66%)
  • Region of Halton (54.60%)
  • Region of Durham (53.75%)
  • Dufferin County (53.68%)
  • Town of Latchford (53.38%)
  • Township of Madawaska Valley (53.16%)
  • City of Toronto (52.63%)
  • Municipality of Grey Highlands (52.59%)
  • Regional Municipality of Waterloo (52.28%)
  • Regional Municipality of Niagara (51.77%)
  • Town of Perth (50.14%)


In 2013, the overall residential waste diversion rate for Ontario was 47.3 per cent, almost the same as the 2012 rate of 47.2 per cent. Since 2008, this rate has increased by just over five percentage points.


The number of people in Ontario with access to any type of residential organics program (kitchen organics and/or leaf and yard waste) increased by 345,962 in 2013 over 2012, or 3% of Ontario’s population. Thirteen of the municipalities with a residential waste diversion rate in 2013 of at least 50 per cent operate a kitchen organics program.


If all households in Ontario with a Blue Box Program also had access to curbside collection of organic waste, an estimated 530,000 tonnes more organic material could be diverted from landfill, representing an estimated increase of nine percentage points in the province’s overall residential waste diversion rate.


For over 10 years the Municipal Datacall has tracked residential waste diversion statistics and trends across the province.  It is continuously modified and improved to make it easier for municipalities to use and to adjust for the ever-changing industry, including the shift to lighter materials for products and packaging. We are monitoring the Datacall as we consider how to ensure we adequately capture all activities that fall under the three “Rs” and the quantities of all Blue Box and other designated materials recycled.


To ensure that residential waste diversion rates are calculated fairly, WDO has annually adjusted every Datacall. WDO adjusts some reported amounts of garbage, including for programs that report no garbage, an unreasonably low amount of garbage, or incomplete garbage tonnes for some privately-serviced multi-family households (with at least six units per building). Adjustments are also made where municipalities without a Green Bin program report a questionable amount of organics, and in cases where they report an unreasonably high amount of “other recyclables” (e.g., residential scrap metal, brick, wood, and textiles). In 2013, WDO made a total of 105 adjustments to the 2013 Datacall submissions.   


As we consider the next updates to the Datacall, we will continue to look to municipalities for suggestions. Datacall remains the most comprehensive – and perhaps only – tool for measuring residential waste diversion progress in Ontario and one of the best in North America.


February 26, 2015 - Updated Blue Box Payout Model


In December 2014, we advised municipalities that we had updated the Payout Model to include the specific amounts of the remaining 2014 Blue Box payments (December 2014 and March 2015) based on the arbitrator’s decision on the 2014 steward obligation. Following February 18th Board approval, we are further updating the Payout Model to include InKind Program and arbitration cost adjustments to the Blue Box payments for March 2015. The revised Payout Model is available here.

Municipal Datacall Update:  Deadline for 2013 Data is Friday, April 25


System Redesign Changes Working

WDO’s recent Municipal Datacall redesign is being well received as Datacall users enter information under the improved system for the first time in their 2014 reporting of 2013 statistics. Municipal Datacall users are noticing that less time and data are now required to report. For example, municipal programs previously needed to report data by each contract for all non-Blue Box services. Now, only the total amount recycled (in tonnes) of each non-Blue Box material is required.


In late March and earlier this month, WDO’s Data Manager Lori Andrews and Blue Box Oversight Analyst Will Mueller attended the Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF)/Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Outreach Sessions to present an overview of the Municipal Datacall changes. These sessions were held in London, Peel, Smiths Falls, Dryden, and North Bay. Lori and Will participated in the first three sessions in person, and via webinar for the Dryden and North Bay sessions.


Content Changes Next

WDO’s CEO Michael Scott recently met with a number of municipal waste management staff in their own communities. The feedback from these sessions included more suggestions to improve the Municipal Datacall, such as incorporating other residential recycling initiatives (e.g., reuse) and changing the metrics used to report. As a first step in addressing these ideas, we will soon hold an informal roundtable discussion with municipal waste management operators.


We will advise everyone about our next steps to involve all stakeholders in identifying potential changes to Municipal Datacall that would help us to tell Ontario’s complete residential waste diversion story.


Datacall Deadline Reminder

Municipalities, recycling associations and First Nations that operate a Blue Box program and report residential waste diversion statistics annually to WDO have until Friday, April 25, 2014 at 4 pm (EST) to submit their 2013 data. As in previous years, this remains a firm deadline.


Please contact Lori Andrews (loriandrews@wdo.ca; 416-226-5113, ext. 294) if you have any questions about how to complete and submit your Municipal Datacall report.

The 2013 Municipal Datacall submission deadline is April 25, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. A copy of the Certification Document is due on May 2, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.

Login:  https://www.wdodatacall.ca/datacall2013/login.aspx


In addition, WDO requests the submission of tonnage data for all other waste materials it oversees, including hazardous or special waste, electrical and electronic, organics, garbage, and others. The data provided to WDO regarding these additional materials are valuable for calculating and analyzing diversion rates in Ontario.



If you require assistance with submitting your data, WDO provides online or phone support. A WDO representative will assist you in navigating the annual Datacall. WDO will also provide a limited number of onsite support visits between late February and the end of March. During these support visits, a WDO representative will review with you your general ledger records, invoices, contracts, cost allocations, and other data. To request online or onsite support, please email datacall@wdo.ca by February 21, 2014.

Late Completion Policy

MIPC has established the following late submission policy:

  • Within 2 days of the submission deadline, WDO will notify a program of the missed deadline by fax and registered mail.
  • A 10% late penalty will apply if the Datacall is submitted within 5 business days of the date of the WDO correspondence.
  • If the Datacall is not received within 5 business days of the date of the notification by WDO, the program will not be eligible for funding in 2015.

February 11, 2014:  WDO Improves the Municipal Datacall


Today, WDO announced the completion of the Municipal Datacall redesign project involving 11 Ontario test municipalities and resulting in several user and data improvements. To view the announcement click here, and to see the accompanying Municipal Datacall Backgrounder, click here.