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Introduction

Welcome to the second PAC NEXT quarterly EPR report for 2016. In this quarter, Canadian provincial stewardship programs have released their 2015 annual reports.

To look more closely at the range of programs across Canada, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) Waste Management Task Group organized an EPR Consistency workshop at Toronto’s Novotel Toronto Center on May 10th, 2016. At this workshop, a wide range of stakeholders - packaging and printed paper forming the largest group - gathered to review key themes areas, such as inconsistencies in terminology used to define obligated stewards across jurisdictions and product lists for obligated materials. Noteworthy points included that product lists should allow for packaging innovation as it continually evolves, IC&I inconsistencies need to be clarified, and there is need for further clarity on which package is obligated under which policy where there are multiple policies (e.g. blue box and deposit-return). A summary of understanding of the areas of broad agreement by stakeholders was drafted as a result of the meeting for submission to the Council.

Of course, the major headline of this quarter is Ontario passing legislation Bill 151. We are pleased to have Jo-Anne St.Godard, Executive Director of Recycling Council of Ontario, share insights on what makes this legislation different than any other in North America and how Ontario moves forward with transitioning under the new regime.

We hope that find this quarterly update helpful and the article links useful.

Alan and Rachel
PAC NEXT

Feature Column

A closer look at how Ontario moves forward with the Waste-Free Ontario Act

Jo-Anne St.Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario

On June 9, 2016 the Government of Ontario passed the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016, otherwise known as the Waste-Free Ontario Act. This new legislation was preceded by two previous failed attempts and endless years of consultation to replace the Waste Diversion Act, Ontario’s first attempt at extended producer responsibility policy.

What makes the Waste-Free Ontario Act unique is it goes beyond setting up a new regime for producer responsibility. Drawing from principles and provisions of planning legislation the Waste-Free Ontario Act uses provincial interest statements that set high-level objectives to grow a circular economy, minimize greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce waste generation. When applied to supply or value chains the Waste-Free Ontario Act can require systems to drive wastes out of products or packaging and encourage economic models that redirect discards back into production cycles, which are theories central to activating a circular economy.

The act also removes producer responsibility provisions that prescribe how producers comply by refocusing on what they must achieve to comply. The elimination of mandated Industry Funding Organizations and program plan approvals with predetermined funding methodologies shifts focus to individual producers. Producers are identified as one of the potentially obligated parties that will be required to register with the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority, a new body that will monitor compliance against prescribed requirements. Under this structure direct liability is assigned to producers (not an agent), which gives them freedom to engage in partnerships that facilitates more informed management choices and direct accountability.

While we don’t want perfect to be the enemy of good the Waste-Free Ontario Act does have shortcomings. The lack of clear definitions for terms that are used to describe the core function of the Waste-Free Ontario Act, and the requirements of the parties obligated by it, are inadequate: circular economy, recycling, reduction, reuse, and resource recovery. Carefully crafted regulations made under the act may correct this; however, each term should provide clarity to obligated parties and signal what operational investments and changes are required to drive the more effective use of discarded resources resulting in the best environmental outcomes.

In short, by encouraging a transition to a circular economy and improving the producer responsibility framework with broader policy instruments, the Waste-Free Free Ontario Act has the potential to be one of the most effective waste policies in North America.

HEADLINES IN THIS ISSUE:

Canadian News

New Four-Step Fee Methodology Receives Broad Stakeholder Support and Board Approvals

MMBC reports strong performance in 2015

2015 MMSM Annual Report is now available

2015 Stewardship Ontario Annual Report

Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ) holds its Annual General Assembly


U.S. News

NJ lawmakers again consider bottle deposits

NY State legislators vote to block bag fee, support bag recycling

International News

NGOs call the EP to get the Circular Economy Back on Track

Australia's most populated state to begin bottle deposits

Contributors:
Alan Blake
Jo-Anne St.Godard
Rachel Morier

Disclaimer
The conclusions and views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the views of every PAC NEXT Member Company or Affiliate.

Copyright © 2016 by PAC, Packaging Consortium
“PAC NEXT - EPR Updates: Canada, USA & Europe” is the property of PAC Packaging Consortium. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be translated, reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any material form either in whole or in part by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or invented in the future, including photocopying and recording or in any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from PAC Packaging Consortium.

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