Skip to main content
WeRecycle Resources

2.4 Step four: Determine the weight of designated materials for each product/service/activity

The first step is to determine all the material categories for which you are reporting and which material list to use when filing your annual steward reports using the WeRecycle portal. The WeRecycle Material List (Part Three of this Guidebook) and Program Material Lists have been developed to provide stewards with the option of filing a multi program report or a single program report. The Portal User Guide provides instructions on how to select your reporting preferences using the WeRecycle Material List or the Program Material List.

Next you will need to weigh the packaging and identify packaging material type. Some stewards use a specially designed system or database, or use Excel spreadsheets.

There are several options for obtaining weights and material sub-categories where they are not already known.

These include:

  • Option 1 - Obtain packaging data (the materials and their weights) from vendors or industry associations, where available. If this method is selected, steps should be taken to ensure the accuracy of weights provided by the vendors. This could include a discussion with the vendor as to how the weights were obtained or testing the data for accuracy. Ensure that processes are in place to obtain accurate weights (i.e. not estimated weights) and material classifications.
  • Option 2 - Physically examine the packaging components to determine their weights and material categories. This may require the acquisition of a scale which is accurate at least 0.1 grams in order to obtain the weights of packaging materials.

For either option, care should be taken to exclude any materials that are not provided to the residential consumer as noted in sections 2.3.1 and 2.3.2. Please ensure you keep all supporting documentation on the weights you have deducted or excluded from your reports.

Where products supplied include designated materials such as magazines or paper for general use (e.g. blank paper for printing), the weight of these designated materials should be included in the weights to be reported.

Please refer to section 2.5.2 if you are using the Average Bill of Materials (ABOM) method for reporting.

2.4.1 The component threshold rule

The component threshold rule provides reporting guidance on how to report packaging that is made up of two or more different material types when certain components of the package constitute a small proportion of the entire package.

The component threshold rule is applied as follows:

  • If a packaging component or the ancillary packaging (defined below) weighs less than 5% of the overall weight of all packaging components combined, then the steward may report the weight of the component or the ancillary packaging under the material category that represents the majority of the package’s weight.
  • If the packaging component or the ancillary packaging (defined below) weighs more than 5% and remains attached to the packaging when the consumer discards the packaging, then the steward is required to report the packaging component or ancillary packaging under the material category that represents the majority of the package’s weight.
  • If the packaging component or ancillary packaging weighs more than 5% and will not remain connected to the packaging when the consumer disposes of it, then the steward is required to report the packaging component or ancillary packaging under the specific material category associated with the packaging component or ancillary packaging.

Definitions:

Packaging Component is an integrated part of the packaging and is attached to the package when supplied to the consumer. Examples of packaging components include: label on a water bottle, label on a corrugated box or the steel lid on a glass bottle.

Ancillary Elements are packaging items that help the consumer use the product and are attached to the packaging. Examples of ancillary packaging include: mascara brush forming part of a container closure, a toy on the top of candy acting as part of the closure, devices for measuring dosage that form part of a detergent container cap, or the pouring spout on a juice or milk carton.

See table below for examples.

Scenario How to Report Example
A packaging component or ancillary packaging weighs less than 5% of the overall packaging weight. The weight of the packaging component or ancillary packaging may be reported under the material that represents the majority of the package’s weight. Bottle of water: Since the paper label weighs less than 5% of the overall bottle weight, the weight of the paper or plastic label can be reported in the same material category as the bottle.
A packaging component or the ancillary packaging weighs more than 5% of the overall packaging weight and remains attached to the packaging when the consumer discards the packaging. The weight of the packaging component or ancillary packaging must be reported under the material that represents the majority of the package’s weight. Hand sanitizer bottle: Since the pump weighs more than 5% of the overall packaging weight, but will get discarded with the main bottle component, the pump must be reported in the same material category as the bottle. The label that is non-separable from the bottle can also be reported in the same material category as the bottle.
The packaging component or the ancillary packaging weighs more than 5% of the overall packaging weight and does not remain attached to the packaging when the consumer disposes of the packaging. Stewards must report the weight of the component or ancillary packaging under the specific material sub-category associated with the packaging component. Frozen juice can: Since the steel lid of the frozen juice can weighs more than 5% of the overall packaging weight and will be separated from the main package when the consumer disposes of it, the lid must be reported under the appropriate “steel” material category separately from the paper laminate juice can.

The component threshold rule does not apply in the following scenarios:

  • The packaging around multiple objects, for instance the plastic film around a pack of juice boxes or water bottles, must be reported separately.
  • The paper sleeve around a six-pack of yogurt containers must be reported separately.
  • A two-pack of shampoo and conditioner where film and boxboard co-join the products must each be reported separately.