Solid Waste & Recycling


Report cites difficulties of Canadian 3Rs rules for U.S. companies

As the dispute over where to put more than 1.3 million tonnes of Ontario's garbage heats up into a small cross-bord...

As the dispute over where to put more than 1.3 million tonnes of Ontario’s garbage heats up into a small cross-border war with Michigan, a new report from Raymond Communications sheds some light on how many major U.S.-based manufacturers and retailers have come to complain about having to pay for 50 per cent of Ontario’s $118 million Blue Box recycling program.

The newly published report — "Canadian Recycling Policy: The Complete Guide for Product Makers" — provides a history and analysis of Ontario’s various political battles over who will pay for its curbside recycling program, and a full province-by-province summary of most of the nation’s 29 local "producer responsibility" programs that affect everything from packaging to used oil to paint.

Ontario’s Waste Diversion Act, 2002 allows the province to require "stewardship" on just about any product. As a result, companies selling more than about $1.6 million wholesale in the province are required to calculate weight-based packaging and printed paper fees, and report on 19 different kinds of packaging to Stewardship Ontario. Quebec is expected to follow suit soon with new regulations.

This is the first time product makers have had to calculate packaging fees in North America. (Exporters must pay weight-based package recycling fees now in more than 28 countries. All of them are federal laws in Europe and Asia.) In all, manufacturers will be paying close to $100 million in packaging fees alone to the two provinces to reimburse them for curbside programs by 2005.

Some major brand owners have balked at the new "black hole" of fees, which have doubled in just 12 months.

"The companies are being asked to reimburse local governments for a system that is not that efficient, but the province apparently will not reform its mandatory curbside recycling law to reduce costs," comments publisher Michele Raymond, who has observed recycling policy for 17 years. "It’s a bit ironic that none of these takeback laws affect commercial trash, which makes up the bulk of what is being shipped to Michigan."

The report comes with a an audio CD of a workshop held at Take it Back WEST this year, where experts provide practical details on how companies can deal with the Ontario packaging fees.

Raymond Communications publishes the newsletters State Recycling Laws Update (where this issue is followed monthly) and Recycling Laws International. The next regular Take it Back conference will be held March 7-9 in Alexandria, VA.

For further information, contact Michele Raymond at 301-345-4237, email or visit

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