Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Bruce Young

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Second Advisor

Gordon J. Young

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Third Advisor

Frederick Binding

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member


Ontario's blue box has elicited strong arguments from observers on both sides of a debate regarding the recycling programme‘s promotion of social change in the province. Both supporters and critics agree on our eventual need to change from a consumer to a conserver society through the 3Rs of waste management (reduce. reuse. recycle). but they disagree on whether the blue box programme ultimately encourages this change. Disagreement also exists regarding the means to achieving change. With supporters of the blue box approach favouring working within the system whereas critics tend to favour a more radical approach. Practical criticisms concern the programme’s cost, efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness. While more theoretical criticisms refer to its political legitimacy, consequences and strategic implications. Proponents of the blue box approach meet these criticisms directly and add arguments of their own pertaining to the blue box‘s strong educational effect. ln addition to searching out these arguments in the popular press, this study surveys a small, non-university city in eastern Ontario to determine whether actual blue box users supported one side of the argument more than the other. The survey found that respondent attitudes and behaviours generally supported the pm view, in determining that their blue box experiences--on the whole--encouraged change. Thus, although arguments coming from both sides are strong, and the survey results somewhat mixed, the blue box appears to be a positive first step to changing our society’s relationship with its environment.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season