Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) refers to the Ontario Blue Box Regulation that transfers full responsibility for managing printed paper and packaging material to producers and first distributors of the material.
Traditionally, costs related to the collection, treatment, and disposal of post-consumer products have been split between producers and municipalities and First Nations communities.
The EPR regime promotes waste reduction, re-use, and recycling activities while lessening the burden on municipalities and taxpayers to fulfill the manual and financial requirements of waste management. Since municipalities have a limited ability to impact the generation of waste, EPR transfers waste management costs onto producers, who can minimize waste by re-designing their product and packaging.
What is the definition of a producer?
- If your company supplies packaging to consumers in Ontario and is the brand holder resident in Canada, your company is the Producer as the brand holder.
- If your company is resident in Ontario and imports packaging for which there is no brand holder resident in Canada, your company is the Producer as the importer.
- If these two situations do not apply, then the obligated Producer is the retailer.
More details can be found in Part II of the Blue Box Regulation.
What materials are covered by EPR?
Blue Box product packaging:
- Primary packaging, including cardboard trays and plastic labels
- Transportation packaging, including pallets, bale wraps, and boxes
- Convenience packaging, including plastic shopping bags
- Service accessories, including straws and cutlery
- Ancillary elements, including measuring cups and pouring spouts
- Paper products, including newspaper, magazines, greeting cards, notebooks, and promotional material
- Packaging-like products that are used to contain, handle, deliver, or transport items before they are supplied to the customer, such as cardboard boxes, cling wrap, and sandwich bags
When will producers be fully responsible for materials in the Blue Box program?
Producers will be fully responsible for the collection, transportation, treatment, and disposal of Blue Box material on July 1, 2023 with the transition period concluding on January 1, 2026.
How should producers manage the transition?
Organizations that have been designated as producers must privately arrange the collection of Blue Box material or can join other producers in producer responsibility organizations (PROs).
PROs are responsible for meeting the recovery and recycling obligations of individual producers. They function as the liaison between producers, collectors, recyclers, and Ontario’s regulator, the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA). PROs ensure producers comply with legislative requirements, co-ordinate the collection, transportation, and management of post-consumer products in their district and prepare and submit reports on behalf of their members.
How does the EPR framework impact organizations in the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors?
As of 2023, the EPR framework only impacts Blue Box programs in municipalities. As such, there will be no change to how schools, hospitals, government buildings, retail establishments, and other private and public industries and institutions manage their Blue Box material.
How can Miller help producers and PROs meet their EPR obligations?
Miller Waste has been a pillar in the Canadian waste diversion industry since 1961 and can assist producers and PROs with the collection, haulage, processing, and marketing of Blue Box material to meet the requirements of the EPR framework.
Miller has a fleet of more than 1000 collection vehicles and currently owns and operates two Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and operates four on behalf of municipalities in Ontario.
We were also involved in the design and construction of the largest and most technologically advanced MRFs in the country (Toronto, London, and York Region) and have completed capital upgrades to several others to maximize the quality and quantity of recycled material they produce.
In total, Miller process more than 380,000 tonnes of post-consumer waste annually in facilities we have built or retrofitted.
Miller also manages the sale of high‐quality products and material generated from these facilities through a dedicated marketing department and long-standing relationships with a reputable network of end markets in Canada and the US.
Miller’s expertise in responsible resource recovery makes us the ideal partner to help producers and PROs meet their obligations under the province’s new EPR framework. Contact us today to get started.