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​Circular Economy

The City of Barrie is focused on influencing a shift to a circular economy approach by providing opportunities that support resident decision making with regards to waste.

​Like all Ontario municipalities, Barrie continues to generate more waste every year, both in quantity and complexity. The consequence of this increase includes increasing litter, diminishing landfill capacity and negative impacts on natural assets.

A circular economy is one where resources, materials, and nutrients are continually circulated within the economy such that their productive value is maximized for as long as possible through reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing strategies. See What is a circular economy? for more detail.

With this approach, waste is minimized, and resources are maximized by moving from a “Take, Make, Waste” economy to one with an economic focus on product longevity, renewability, and reuse and repair strategies that promote a zero-waste society.

Ways Residents can Support a Circular Economy

The circular econom​​y is about moving toward greener, more sustainable options. ​It means finding creative ways to make items, use things in new ways or return items so they can be reused. It ​​means reducing food waste, and repairing or sharing things instead of throwing them out.

Every action counts. That’s why we’re supporting residents in their decision making when purchasing products, implementing new actions in their lives, and adopting behavioural change. Visit for information and tips on how you can play a role in the circular economy.

Government Actions that Support a Circular Economy


The City of Barrie is working towards influencing behavioural change through leading by example:

  • Following a Circular Economy Framework, containing four pillars, that will be the basis for policy development supporting a changed approach to waste management. See associated actions for each pillar below.
  • Creating a cross-departmental Circular Economy Internal Stakeholder Working Group to raise awareness and impact change within the corporation’s practices. 
  • Continuing to encourage residents to rethink waste.

The Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy outlines how the Ontario government will build a system that puts valuable materials destined for landfill back into the economy.

The Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (RRCEA) supports a number of Provincial interests centered around reducing the generation of waste through the continued growth and development of the circular economy and by minimizing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from waste management activities. Highlights include:

  • minimize greenhouse gas emissions resulting from resource recovery activities and waste reduction activities
  • hold persons who are most responsible for the design of products and packaging responsible for the products and packaging at the end-of-life
  • minimize greenhouse gas emissions resulting from resource recovery activities and waste reduction activities

The Government of Canada is working to support and expand Canadians' participation in reusing, repairing, sharing. They are also working to support other circular strategies— remanufacturing, redesigning, reducing—to create new economic opportunities and a more sustainable and resilient economy. See Government of Canada circular economy initiatives.

The Government of Canada is collaborating with provinces and territories to reduce plastic pollution, targeting approximately $1.3M to support projects that aim to reduce plastic waste, prevent plastic pollution and support the transition to a national circular plastics economy.

City of Barrie Circular Economy Framework

Policies are required to drive actions. The City leveraged the existing Sustainable Waste Management Strategy and City initiatives, in conjunction with sector research, to identify a framework for addressing the gaps required to support a circular economy in Barrie.

The Framework consists of 4 pillars centered on the objectives of a circular economy, and is the basis for policy development supporting a changed approach to waste management:


reuse icon  


recycle icon 


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Create and foster a culture of reuse

Ensure residents and businesses know about and are confident using recycling systems.

​Rethink the role that food can play in supporting a circular economy.

​Recover energy and materials after other efforts have been exhausted


Extend the lifecycle of goods, products, and resources through local repair, upgrade and reuse initiatives.

Maximize the recycling captured for processing.

​Minimize food wastage from all sources.

​Identify the economic value of waste and maximize local energy benefit from waste streams.

Priority Areas:




Blue Box

Producer Responsibility


Food Production & Consumption

Food Diversion


​Residual Waste



For more detail, see March 2021 Staff Report: Circular Economy Approach - Policies and 2021-2022 Initiatives.

This framework guides the development of a waste and circular economy strategy that will:

  • support positive environmental outcomes
  • reduce reliance on raw materials
  • stimulate innovation
  • support economic growth and competitiveness.

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  • Lead by example through using circular economy purchasing practices.
  • Strengthen the community sharing economy.
  • Support the reduction and phase out of single-use plastics.

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  • Maximize the capture of recyclable materials.
  • Reduce contamination levels that compromise the recycling system.
  • Manage waste in public spaces to reduce litter and illegal dumping.

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  • Support local growing community by encouraging urban agricultural opportunities.
  • Support community food recovery programs.
  • Strengthen communication and education focused on the reduction and rescue of food waste.

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  • Investigate strategies to aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global climate change.
  • Support reuse and recycling practices that encourage circular soil management.
For more detail, see March 2021 Staff Report: Circular Economy Approach - Policies and 2021-2022 Initiatives.

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