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Knowledge Base

1.1 What is product stewardship?

The terms “product stewardship” and “EPR” (Extended Producer Responsibility) are often used interchangeably. Both terms capture the concept of businesses assuming responsibility for their product, paper and/or packaging after it is discarded by consumers. Globally, product stewardship and EPR are not new concepts. Jurisdictions around the world have been implementing stewardship programs for many years, with some in place since 1995. EPR effectively transfers financial responsibility for “end- of-life” management of these materials from municipal taxpayers (who typically pay for residential recycling services through their municipal taxes) to the resident brand owners and first importers that directly or indirectly supply the materials to consumers.

Currently, in Canada, the provinces of BC, SK, MB, ON, QC and NB have enabling legislation and regulations that provide for either full or partial funding of the recycling system by obligated businesses. This Guidebook covers steward obligations in BC, SK, MB and ON.

Provincial recycling regulations detail producer responsibilities and designate the materials on which businesses are obligated to report and pay fees. The obligations under EPR regulations apply to producers and all designated materials they supply to consumers in a province, regardless of whether the material is currently managed through the recycling stream (e.g., regardless of whether the material is disposed of in the garbage, compost bin or curb-side recycling box) All designated materials, regardless of whether they are “recyclable” must be reported.


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