Product Stewardship for Printed Paper & Packaging

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), often referred to as Product Stewardship in Canada falls under provincial jurisdiction and to date, binding legislation related to printed paper and packaging (PPP) has been implemented in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. While there has been progress toward harmonizing the definitions and requirements across the country, there are many differences between the provincial programs.

Detailed information on producer’s obligations for PPP in those provinces excluding Quebec is provided in Stewards Guidebook, published by the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance (CSSA). This is a not for profit industry association that provides support services to packaging and printed paper stewardship programs across Canada, including RecycleBC, Multi-Material Stewardship Western (MMSW), Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba (MMSM) and Stewardship Ontario (SO), but excluding agencies in Québec, Éco Entreprises Québec and RecycleMédias.

Generally, product stewardship for PPP in Canada targets that which goes out a business's front door and home with the customer, rather than what goes out the back door as part of a business's regular operation and recycling efforts. What is considered packaging and printed paper is slightly different in each province and there are many exclusions. As part of Greenstreets’ Product Stewardship Services offering, we will review all your Printed Paper and Packaging and determine which materials must be reported.

Detailed information on the requirements and definitions for producers under each program can be found on the websites of the individual stewardship agencies and (excluding those in Québec), in the National Stewards Guidebook, published by Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance

How is Packaging defined?

  • Materials such as glass, metal, paper, boxboard, cardboard, textile, paper fibre, plastic, or any combination of these used to protect, contain, or transport product to a residential consumer
  • Secondary packaging that goes to the household such as the plastic wrap around a case of water bottle, or the plastic wrap around multiple boxes of tissue

How is Printed Paper defined?

  • Typically all paper regardless of its cellulosic fibre source, including wood, wheat, rice, cotton, bananas, eucalyptus, bamboo, hemp and sugar cane (bagasse) fibre sources.
  • Newspapers, brochures, receipts, catalogues, flyers, customer statements, magazines, telephone directories and many other branded and printed papers.

Specific definitions of Printed Paper and Packaging can be found in documentation and websites of each stewardship agency, as well as in the CSSA's National Stewards Guidebook.

How is a Steward defined?

Generally, a Printed Paper and Packaging (PPP) Steward is any organization or company that is a brand owner, first importer or franchisor and that supplies obligated PPP directly or indirectly to residential consumers in that province. In each province, there are exemptions in place for small businesses, though the thresholds differ.

Stewards' obligations include:

  • Registering with an accredited provincial stewardship organisation
  • Reporting the types and quantities of packaging and/or printed paper supplied that may end up in the residential waste stream to the stewardship organisation
  • Paying fees based on the quantities of packaging and/or printed paper reported to the appropriate stewardship organizations
  • Retaining records related to steward reports for review and verification

Reporting and Payment

All existing programs establish fee schedules for each year. Fees cover a portion of or the full cost of operating the recycling system for PPP, whether this is operated directly by the Stewardship Program (as it is in BC) or by municipalities as it is done in all other programs. The fees also cover program administration and overhead costs.

CSSA, with its member associated programs, establishes fees each year and determines the fees and typically presents fees for the following year in autumn, October. There are quarterly dates for payments, which, are based on the quantities of PPP reported in the previous year. The reporting deadline is May 31 of year following supply of PPP. In Ontario the fees must be approved by the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA).

In Quebec fees are similarly determined by EEQ and must be endorsed by RECYC-QUEBEEC and then approved and published by the provincial government. EEQ's reporting deadline is October 10 of the year following supply of PPP.