Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

Recycling and EPR

PPEC represents its members to the provincial and federal government on Canadian printed paper and packaging (PPP) recycling and Extended Producer Responsibility, or “EPR,” regulatory and policy issues.

On behalf of its members, PPEC participates in consultations and prepares submissions in response to consultations on PPP programs.

What is EPR?

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach in which a producer – a business that makes or sells obligated materials – is made financially and/or physically responsible for ensuring their products and packaging are properly managed at the end of their life.

EPR legislated programs can be either full producer responsibility models, where producers fund and operate recycling programs, or cost-share models where producers fund a portion of costs of programs run by municipalities as part of their waste management services.

Businesses obligated by legislated programs are required to submit annual reports containing the weights of materials put into the marketplace in that province, and to pay corresponding fees for those designated materials, which are used to fund the costs of recycling.

Who is responsible for legislating provincial recycling and EPR programs?

In Canada, EPR recycling programs for residential PPP are legislated by the provincial government.

Issues PPEC advocates for on behalf of its members

Whether governments are introducing new regulations to introduce EPR for printed paper and packaging (PPP), or consulting on existing programs to transition current PPP programs to EPR models, PPEC is at the table with the government to voice our key issues:

  • Promoting a level playing field between materials and fair stewardship fees
  • Understanding and addressing material contamination to ensure supply and quality of feedstocks
  • Practical and fair waste diversion targets based on data, collection and processing capacity, and availability of end markets
  • The importance of education and the consumer’s role in successful recycling programs
  • Having up-to-date and complete data to make evidence-based policy and regulatory decision
  • Understanding the differences between what is collected, diverted, and actually recycled
  • Banning cardboard boxes from landfill
  • EPR should be limited to residential PPP, and is not appropriate for managing paper packaging in the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (IC&I) sector
  • Timelines for consultation, regulation development, program plan development and implementation must be carefully considered

To stay informed, members can sign up for PPEC communications to be added to email distribution list.

How do EPR programs impact PPEC members?

While PPEC members have not historically been obligated stewards of these programs – our members typically engage in business-to-business transactions, and do not directly supply finished products to consumer – such recycling programs are critical to our industry. 

Recycled materials represent an important part of our industry’s circular economy to manufacturing the three major paper packaging grades in Canada.

PPEC’s membership represents several different components of our industry’s recycling supply chain, not just as providers of recyclable paper-based packaging, but also as processors of collected paper materials, and as mills who are recycling and reusing the collected materials, which allows them to be remade into new paper packaging products again and again, keeping valuable raw material out of landfill.