Alberta nearing introduction of new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations for single-use plastics, packaging and paper products (PPP), and hazardous and special products (HSP)

Similar to other provinces, Alberta is nearing the introduction of new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations for single-use plastics, packaging and paper products (PPP), and hazardous and special products (HSP), which will include household hazardous waste.

The new regulations are expected by the end of June.  

In spring 2021, Alberta’s government started gathering input from stakeholders on the design of an extended producer responsibility approach. Key feedback was summarized in a “What We Heard” report.      

“Furthering our recycling goals as a province is a win-win-win for the environment, local economies and municipalities, some of whom are sitting on backlogs of potentially recyclable materials. Changes to how we manage recycling in Alberta have been a long time coming and I am proud that our government is working to make the province a global leader in addressing plastic waste,” said Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks, in March of 2021.

Bill 83, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Amendment Act then came into force on December 2, 2021 to enable the creation of an Extended Producer Responsibility Framework. This is part of Alberta’s Natural Gas Vision and Strategy to reduce waste in landfills while diversifying their economy and creating jobs.

Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) said it is drawing from the experience and lessons learned from other Canadian jurisdictions as it moves forward to implement its province-wide approach, providing greater efficiency, economies of scale for recycling, and support innovation in recycling. AEP engaged on three policy changes related to EPR in spring 2021:

1. Create an over-arching EPR framework to support EPR programs 

  • This included engagement on the topics of: producer responsibility; defining producer; oversight, compliance and enforcement (e.g., producer compliance including, individual producer responsibility and collective producer responsibility); role of municipal governments; performance and reporting; and pollution prevention hierarchy.

2. Develop an EPR program for single-use plastics, and packaging and paper products (PPP) 

  • This included engagement on the topics of: definitions; harmonization with other jurisdictions; targets; service standards; accessibility; small businesses considerations; newspapers; and, exclusions. 

3. Develop an EPR program for hazardous and special products (HSP) 

  • This included engagement on the topics of: definitions; targets; accessibility; and, service standards. Stakeholders generally expressed support for Alberta to create an EPR framework. Stakeholders agreed that the experiences of other jurisdictions within Canada could be helpful to learn from, but that Alberta’s EPR system should be built for Alberta’s unique needs

A 3rd party producer-funded organization is to be established for Oversight, Compliance and Enforcement.

Informational Webinars

The Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA) has been hosting a series of webinars to provide organizations opportunities to ask leading experts questions on EPR and its implementation, as well as advance discussion on the topic. Webinars took place on March 30th, April 13th and April 20th.

Over 100 participants joined the RCA on March 30th for a webinar on Alberta’s EPR engagement and discussion paper. Heather von Hauff, the Executive Director of Water and Waste Policy with Alberta Environment and Parks provided an update on the engagement strategy announced on March 17 and answer questions about the discussion paper. Other EPR experts, including the RCA’s president, Jodi Tomchyshyn London, Kelsey Morden from the Retail Council of Canada as well as Alda Nicmans from the BC Product Stewardship Council were available to answer general EPR questions that arose.

Download the slide deck here for some more details on the Alberta EPR approach.

CHPTA will provide further news on the EPR progress in Alberta and its impact for CHPTA members over the coming weeks and months as well as continuing news from other provinces. 

Stewards Not Required to Report 2021 Blue Box Supply Data to Stewardship Ontario

Stewardship Ontario announced on Tuesday that it continues its work to meet the conditions attached to the recent conditional approval of the simplified fee-setting proposal for the Blue Box program and finalizing the Rules for Stewards and the Policy that will guide implementation.

It is expected that the Resource Productivity & Recovery Authority (RPRA) will consider the matter in the next few weeks. A further update will be provided as soon as possible and in the interim stewards are advised to not submit 2021 kilograms for designated paper and packaging materials to Stewardship Ontario via the WeRecycle Portal.

With Simplified Fees, most stewards will not be required to submit detailed material reports to Stewardship Ontario for the remaining years of the program, which ceases operations in 2025. Annual fees will be calculated from each steward’s budget share, with the percentage based on individual steward fees for invoice years 2021 and 2022 (2019 and 2020 sales data years).

Note that most stewards (referred to as producers under the new Blue Box Regulation), will likely be required to submit 2021 designated material information to RPRA. Stewards should refer to the RPRA website for additional details including, reporting deadlines.

Consultation on the draft program Rules and Policy was completed in March. The drafts, along with the Addendum to the Blue Box Program Transition Plan and related documents are available on the Stewardship Ontario website.

As noted in the last E-News Brief , RPRA has pushed back the supply data reporting deadline for Blue Box to October 31st from the previous April 30th deadline.  Other program reporting deadlines have also been pushed back, read here.