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EPR (Blue Box) Fee Backgrounder (for 2017)

Please see below a summary of the EPR (Blue Box) fees for paper-based packaging in the five current programs across Canada.

EPR Fees Backgrounder

The fees for corrugated and boxboard range from $90 a tonne in Saskatchewan to $240 a tonne In British Columbia, reflecting both the varying costs to collect materials in different geographies but also the extent of industry (steward) funding.

For example, our customers (the consumer packaged goods companies) and their customers (the retailers) currently pay 50% of the net costs of Ontario’s Blue Box program but 100% in British Columbia. Ontario is planning to go to 100 percent.

More difficult to recycle materials generally cost more in fees (for example, gable tops and aseptic cartons).

Also worthy of note is that the funding formula is new for three of the provinces (BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) and would be for Ontario if the Minister of Environment and Climate Change didn’t have to bless it. Because of this regulatory process, Ontario must wait. Quebec also has its own regulatory peculiarities which account for some of the differences to other programs.

But the overall direction of the fees under the new CSSA formula is positive for paper generally. The new factors introduced into the formula hit plastic packaging harder because it cost more to recycle.

Here are the lists of the 2017 fees by province. Click on the province you want to look at.  Please note that the fees are expressed in cents/kg not tonnes as above.

British Columbia





Packaging changes in Ontario households (2003-2014)

The following is PPEC’s summary of how the generation of printed paper and packaging has changed in Ontario households between 2003 and 2014, based on weight.

  • The weight of what are called dry recyclables or Blue Box materials in Ontario households (before recycling) dropped almost 8% between 2003 and 2014 data years. The major reason for this was a 21% drop in newspaper generation and a 46% fall in glass generation. More, lighter weight plastics is probably a factor as well.
  • The all-paper category (printed paper and paper packaging combined) still represented two-thirds of household generation by weight in 2014. But the printed paper contribution is now 20% lower with newspapers dropping 21%, magazines and catalogs (25%) and telephone directories (47%). This has been balanced by a 16% increase in paper packaging generated (plus 27% for boxboard and plus 9% for corrugated).
  • Plastics packaging generation (by weight) increased 31% over the period, with a 201% increase in the catch-all category of Other Plastics and a 53% increase for PET bottles.

The raw data has been analysed from Stewardship Ontario reports for the individual years 2003 and 2014. Selected audits were undertaken on what households generated (as garbage) and what they put out for recycling with the numbers added together to get a generation total. So this is what was in the Ontario residential marketplace and available to be recycled before any recycling took place in 2003 and 2014.