Opportunities in the recycling sector April 14, 2011 RICCentre Finding and developing new business opportunities in the recycling sector is crucial to enabling Stewardship Ontario to fulfill its mandate of establishing, funding and operating recycling programs for a growing range of materials. Lyle Clarke, the not-for-profit organization’s vice-president for innovation and the Blue Box, said Stewardship Ontario is constantly seeking industry partners to help build and improve the province’s recycling system, and uses the funds it collects from industry stewards to promote best practices and invest in the system. Clarke was one of the panelists at the last Growing Your Business seminar “Turning Research into Dollars” hosted by the RIC Centre and OCETA. Its crown jewel is Ontario’s renowned Blue Box program. Launched in the 1980s to divert paper and paper packaging from landfills, the iconic Blue Box today graces curbsides worldwide. But has it become a “stale brand” in the current push to create a greener economy? Clarke doesn’t think so. He said a commonly-recognized, yet still well-regarded brand that has lost a little of its novelty luster can indeed make a comeback if it still has underlying value and can take advantage of emerging trends to find a new market value. And the Blue Box can certainly lay claim to underlying value, with its 95% participation rate, unmatched user convenience, breadth of scope, and economic and environmental efficiency, he said. Moreover, the trend in public opinion and a number of resource, economic and environmental drivers are increasingly working in favor of the Blue Box system. Consumers, aware that their purchasing decisions can be part of the problem or part of the solution, are driving the move toward product sustainability, while rising energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions are driving the need for supply chain sustainability, Clarke explained. At the same time, higher commodity prices have increased the demand for recyclable materials. Technological innovations are creating new opportunities in the recycling sector, and Stewardship Ontario is looking at the full material recovery/re-use cycle to determine where the best opportunities lie. At this point, the secondary materials sorting and raw material extraction stages are seen as offering the greatest potential. Multi-material packaging is another priority issue, as it offers inherent value but is still difficult to recycle. Stewardship Ontario has the funds to help support the commercialization of business ideas that will contribute to the fulfillment of its core objectives, although it can offer other types of support as well, Lyle noted. More information is available on Stewardship Ontario’s at www.stewardshipontario.ca. Join us for Business Valuation – Busting the Myths: How do Investors Value Your Business at the next Growing Your Business breakfast event series 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Thursday April 14th at the University of Toronto Mississauga?s Faculty Club. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.