In May 2011, the BC Government amended the Recycling Regulation (the “Regulation”) to include the Packaging and Printed Paper Product Category. In order to facilitate compliance with the Regulations, Multi-Material BC (“MMBC”), a non-profit corporation established by the Government of British Columbia, has developed a stewardship plan to hold the producers of packaging and printed materials accountable for the costs associated with recycling. Franchisors that 1) have residency in BC; 2) supply packaging and printed materials to BC residential consumers; and 3) are brand owners, first importers or franchisors of packaging or printed paper, are considered producers under the plan and were required to appoint an agency to carry out its duties under the Product Stewardship Plan by November 19, 2012 or were required to submit non-binding letters of intent to MMBC appointing MMBC as its agent by March 31, 2013. The purpose of the Regulation is to shift responsibility upstream in the product life cycle to the producer and away from municipalities and general taxpayers.
By May 19, 2014, MMBC will be submitting a list to the Ministry of Environment of businesses that have failed to comply with its obligations. Those contravening the Regulation are liable for enforcement action which can include fines of up to $200,000 upon conviction and/or may be prohibited from selling, offering for sale, distributing or using packaging and printed materials in a commercial enterprise in British Columbia.
For those who currently do not fall within the requirements of a producer as defined by the Regulations but will fall into this category in the future, representatives from MMBC have indicated that they will likely be required to identify themselves and provide statistics to MMBC regarding the weight of their packaging and printed materials immediately after the producer’s first year of business.
As of September 13, 2013, 1,279 producers have registered with MMBC. Such producers are providing packaging and printed materials such as paper or plastic carry-out bags, disposable plates and cups, take-out and home delivery food service packaging such as pizza boxes, cups, folded cartons, wraps, trays, gift wrapping/tissue paper, paper envelopes and all paper that is not packaging but is printed with text or graphics as a medium for communicating information, such as flyers and advertisements. MMBC encourages businesses who are uncertain about whether they are a producer to check the list of producers to identify whether competitors have registered with MMBC.
The cost of this Plan for registered members is currently unknown. This is because the cost, which will not be finalized until Q4 2013, will depend upon the contracts negotiated on behalf of registered producers based on factors such as sorting costs, tonnage, and curb-side pick-up. Cost for producers will be based upon the specific type of packaging or printed material and the percentage of its product’s contribution to the total tonnage of material.
Currently, Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec have implemented programs for packaging and printed material. While each program has its subtleties, the overall program design is similar to the programs in effect in those provinces.