EPR program in British Columbia
The Government of British Columbia has approved amendments to the Recycling Regulation that will enhance the extended producer responsibility system by incorporating packaging and printed papers derived from residential premises and from municipal property that is not industrial, commercial or institutional.
The Recycling Regulation defines ""packaging" as a "material, substance or object that is used to protect, contain or transport a commodity or product, or attached to a commodity or product or its container for the purpose of marketing or communicating information about the commodity or product." The Recycling Regulation defines "printed paper" as "paper that is not packaging, but is printed with text or graphics as a medium for communicating information and includes telephone directories, but does not include other types of bound reference books, bound literary books, or bound textbooks."
Producers will have 18 months from July 1, 2011 to develop and submit a product stewardship plan for packaging and printed products, and a further 18 months to implement and comply with the plan. Under the Recycling Regulation, the definition of "producer" has also been expanded from a person that "manufactures the product and sells, offers for sale or distributes the product" to a person that "manufactures the product and sells, offers for sale or distributes or uses the product in a commercial enterprise" in British Columbia.
Quebec industry to pay full costs
The Quebec Residual Materials Management Policy, issued pursuant to the Environment Quality Act, was published on March 16, 2011. The policy outlines Quebec's approach on residual materials management under the Environment Quality Act and applies to all residual materials generated in Quebec by households, industries, businesses and institutions. This includes residual materials produced by construction, renovation, and demolition activities, and waste from primary industry that is transported outside of production sites to disposal sites or to residual materials reclamation facilities. Residual materials also include municipal and industrial sludge and out-of-service vehicles and their waste.
There is a five-year action plan that outlines various initiatives, sets deadlines and establishes the targets to be met. Those targets are considered quite aggressive. For example, by the end of 2015, the quantity of residual materials sent for disposal must be reduced to 700 kilograms per capita, which is 110 kilograms less per capita than in 2008. In addition, 70 per cent of paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal waste must be recycled, and 60 per cent of organic putrescible waste must be processed. Additional objectives include that 80 per cent of concrete, brick and asphalt waste must be recycled, and 70 per cent of construction, renovation and demolition waste from the building segment must be sorted at the source or sent to a sorting centre.
Currently, industry is only required to pay up to 50 per cent of the net cost borne by municipalities for recovering and reclaiming containers, packaging, printed material and written media. Under the new policy, companies will be required to bear the entire cost of these services. The government will also be assessing whether companies should bear full responsibility for managing the extended producer responsibility program.
It should be noted that the policy does not apply to hazardous materials except for household and similar products, animal dung, uncollected logging residues, biomedical waste, mine tailings, soil containing contaminants in quantities or concentrations exceeding the levels set by regulation, and gaseous substances, except those contained in another residual material or arising from the treatment of such material.
Manitoba product stewardship regs
The Household Hazardous Material and Prescribed Material Stewardship Regulation came into effect on April 1, 2011. The regulation provides that no person shall supply designated material for consumption unless a steward of the designated material operates or subscribes to a household hazardous material or prescribed material stewardship program, or the person operates or subscribes to a household hazardous material or prescribed material stewardship program.
In addition, the Electrical and Electronic Stewardship Regulation came into force on April 1, 2011 and provides that no person shall supply a designated material for consumption unless the steward of the designated material operates or subscribes to an electrical and electronic equipment stewardship program, or the person operates or subscribes to an electrical and electronic equipment stewardship program.
It should also be noted that April 28 was the first deadline for payment to Multi-Materials Stewardship Manitoba of 25 per cent of the 2011 payment obligations by stewards of designated packaging and printed paper. The second deadline for payment of the next 25 per cent of the 2011 payment obligations is June 30. If payments are not made by the stipulated deadlines, Multi-Materials Stewardship Manitoba will be assessing penalties of 10 per cent on any fees owing by stewards plus interest. Stewards should have filed their reports with Multi-Materials Stewardship Manitoba as of March 31, 2011.
Rosalind Cooper, LL.B., is a partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Toronto, Ontario. Contact Rosalind at firstname.lastname@example.org