The British Columbia (B.C.) government has redefined and expanded the definition of "producer" under its Recycling Regulation (B.C. Reg. 449/2004).
The definition of producer has been changed from "a person who manufactures the product and sells, offers for sale or distributes the product in British Columbia..." to "a person who manufactures the product and sells, offers for sale or distributes or uses in a commercial enterprise the product in British Columbia..."
The government also amended Section 5 of the Recycling Regulation, making paper and packaging from "residential premises" and from "municipal property that is not industrial, commercial or institutional" subject to the approval of a stewardship plan.
A default 75% diversion rate for paper and packaging will be required as per existing provisions of the regulation.
Starting July 1, 2011, producers of "packaging and printed paper" must develop a stewardship plan within 18 months and have that plan implemented within 36 months.
As with other materials in B.C., producers may transfer their individual producer responsibilities and liabilities to a third party stewardship agency. That agency and not the producer becomes subject to enforcement of offences. New provisions require any agency operating on behalf of stewards to notify stewards of any infractions.
After two years, the director may suspend the requirement for producers to provide quarterly reports on the "...total product collected on the producer's behalf during the previous calendar quarter."
The provincial deposit-refund system is maintained and is not affected by introduction of the new requirements for packaging and printed paper.
"Unlike Ontario or Quebec, the B.C. approach moves directly to 100% producer responsibility for packaging and paper," says Usman Valiante, principal with Corporate Policy Group LLP. "Given that the producers' relationships with municipalities have not been pre-ordained by the province through mandated producer-municipal cost sharing, producers are free to seek least cost options for discharging their obligations -- options that in some cases may not involve any municipal services whatsoever."
"Stewards have an opportunity to create something new and something more efficient and effective than anything we have seen before," says Valiante.