Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment
Fisherville, Ontario, Canada
Tel. 416 410-0432, Fax: 416 362-5231
Vol. 17, No. 11, July 31, 2013

Gary Gallon, highly respected and well-known environmental business leader and founder of the Gallon Environment Letter, passed away 10 years ago. He will be fondly remembered.


Ontario was one of the key leaders in Extended Producer Responsibility in North America with its somewhat less than satisfactory 2002 Waste Diversion Act. That Act is now up for replacement. Some of the articles in this issue of Gallon Environment Letter discuss some of the more general EPR topics and we will return to the subject of Ontario's EPR challenges in another issue. Extended Producer Responsibility is more than one province's initiative, or even than all provincial initiatives. In this issue we look at EPR, what it is, what it means and how it is being implemented (re-implemented) in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. There are lots of interesting ideas coming from Asian EPR programs to add to those from Canadian experience.

We also take another look at Canada’s Commissioner for Environment and Sustainable Development's past comments about transportation of hazardous goods by rail, some available environmental internships and wage subsidies, and new crops from wild relatives.

In some ways continuing our theme of Extended Producer Responsibility but perhaps being of greater interest to feeders and fooders than this issue, our next issue will present green restaurants as a feature topic. If you have a few minutes spare during the summer we invite you to send us a letter to the Editor not only on the articles in this issue but on any business and the environment topic that interests you. Send letters to the Editor to; we will publish a selection of the most interesting articles received, as long as they are not just blatant advertising!


In October 2009 Canada's federal/provincial/territorial environment ministers agreed in principle to implement the Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility.

Canada was said to lag other G8 and OECD countries in diversion from municipal solid waste and incineration. Nationally, waste diversion in 2006 was at 22%, the same as in 2004. Per capita municipal solid waste was about 1,100 kg per year (Statistics Canada). Many environmental leaders were proposing that expenses related to the managing the end-of-life of products should be seen as part of the cost of doing business, the same as other factors of production, so the price of waste/recycling should be included in the wholesale and retail pricing. As well as shifting the costs from the public purse, the aim was also to lessen environmental risks including reduced toxicity and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment is an intergovernmental agency formed by 14 member governments (provincial, territorial and federal). Its Waste Management Task Group oversees waste management issues including implementation of the Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility: "The purpose of the CAP for EPR is to extend the principle of producer responsibility across the country in a consistent and harmonized way with maximum impact across the national marketplace."

Economic/Environmental Value of Recycling

Environment Canada estimated that, over the 25 years 2008-2033, 1 billion tonnes of MSW would be generated. Half the waste is paper, food, leaf and yard waste which together contribute to methane emissions from landfills. The recyclable material disposed of is estimated to be worth $25 billion (not including the value of compost or energy from waste). With a disposal rate of 500 kg per capita by 2030, $10 billion would be added to the Canadian economy through recovery of paper, metals and plastics.

Lasting benefits would be achieved by reducing waste generation in the first place as well as by diverting from disposal. This would achieve reduced release of toxic and hazardous substances and reduced greenhouse gas production. EPR, which would handle certain products separately from the conventional municipal waste programs through special collection and recycling systems, is seen as a better way for handling end-of-life products with hazardous or toxic materials or which pose other problems for waste management.

Definition of EPR

The OECD defines Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as: "an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of its life cycle." CCME elaborates on the definition: "Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is defined as a policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility, physical and/or financial, for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. EPR shifts responsibility upstream in the product life cycle to the producer and away from municipalities. As a policy approach it provides incentives to producers to incorporate environmental considerations in the design of their products. EPR also shifts the historical public sector tax-supported responsibility for some waste to the individual brand owner, manufacturer or first importer."

Definition of Waste

For EPR, the CCME definition of waste is municipal solid waste. It includes recyclables, organic and residual materials from residential and industrial, commercial and institutional sources as well as construction and demolition waste destined for municipal collection/disposal. Exempted from the definition are wastes from resource extraction and harvesting, agricultural wastes, air pollutants, effluents to water from manufacturing or other processing, nuclear waste, hazardous wastes except household and special wastes specifically identified, medical and related wastes, gas wastes, gravel and rocks.

4R Hierarchy

The EPR program is supposed to follow the 4R waste management hierarchy:
Performance Indicators

Key indicators for performance are to be published in the national annual status report:
The CAP itself doesn't set waste diversion targets but says each jurisdiction should set those. The key performance indicator for the CAP will be "the number of operational EPR programs and product categories in place by the commitment target dates. The implementation of EPR framework legislation and operational programs will be reported on annually by CCME." GallonLetter looked at the publication list for CCME and couldn't find an annual report on EPR in the publications list.

Phasing in of EPR Across Canada

Phase 1 targets EPR programs to be operational with 6 years ie 2015:
Within 8 years ie 2017, operational EPR are to cover
If programs for these products already exist, they should be reviewed to make them consistent with the implementation plan and goals of the action plan for EPR.

Tools and Strategies

Because of the geography, infrastructure and population, EPR may not be suitable for the Territories and other measures may be more appropriate to achieve the outcomes for the products listed

EPR programs are unlikely by themselves to achieve significant waste diversion goals. Other initiatives which support EPR include "eco-labelling; restrictions on toxic substances; recycled content standards and regulations; green procurement policies; environmental performance/voluntary agreements and a variety of other potential standards, bans, landfill gas recovery, guidelines and educational tools."

The plan includes other information including strategies, elements of a model EPR Program and regulation, E-waste recommended for EPR, guidance tools, related strategies such as the Canada-wide Strategy for Sustainable Packaging, reports and tools such as evaluating whether a product should be under an EPR programs and dealing with free riders (ie producers who create waste but avoid paying for it).

Challenges of EPR Discussed in the Action Plan

EPR programs face a number of challenges including:
GallonLetter thinks that one of the challenges not adequately addressed in the CCME plan is that some governments, especially during recessions, see (erroneously in our opinion) environmental issues as separate and less of a priority than economic issues. It may not be entirely the fault of politicians either as voters often think short-term too.

Development of EPR in Canada: Bc Leads

The first Canadian EPR program modelled on Germany's EPR initiative, the Packaging Ordinance of 1991 which led to the Duales System Deutschland, was British Columbia's 1994 waste paint program. Regulations in BC now address:
In 2009, there were 40 EPR programs in Canada.

State of Waste Management in Canada

One of the issues of setting targets for waste diversion is that there needs to be a baseline. A number of municipal jurisdictions have conducted the occasional waste characterization study to find out what materials in sample loads end up in landfill. CCME is commissioning a study on waste management in Canada including trends, best management practices, barriers and opportunities for waste prevention, reduction and diversion in Canada.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


“The WDA has failed consumers, the economy and our environment,” said Peter Hargreave, Director of Policy, Ontario Waste Management Association (representing private and public sector members) in a joint press conference with the Recycling Council of Ontario in April 2013. The press release described the existing Waste Diversion Act as lacking "accountability, transparency, oversight, and effective enforcement mechanisms." Focussing on the results rather than spending so much time and money on tinkering with programs would allow individual producers to achieve recycling results with the least cost to consumers. The new EPR legislation should include:
Both organizations have been involved in waste management policy for a long time so perhaps it isn't surprising that they are prescient or perhaps have good relations with the Environment Ministry as Environment Minister Jim Bradley introduced the Waste Reduction Act to replace the Waste Diversion Act with first reading June 6, 2013. Public consultation on the Environmental Registry is until September 4, 2013.

The ministry's web site includes a backgrounder with support quotes from various people including from RCO and OWMA:

"The proposed Waste Reduction Act is forward-thinking policy that has clear benefits for Ontario's environment and taxpayers: increased waste reduction and recycling targets, enforceable standards, and improved accountability that focus on results will position Ontario as an environmental leader. These improvements allow and encourage companies to innovate and invest in Ontario's recycling industry, and keep valuable materials from disposal."
- Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario

"Minister Bradley, who led the charge to increase diversion in 1980s, has set Ontario back on the right path to increase waste diversion, support green jobs and investment, and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of waste diversion that comes with competitive and open markets."
- Rob Cook, CEO, Ontario Waste Management Association

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


The OWMA provides several reviews of the new Waste Reduction Act on its web site which it says supports many of the views expressed in the OWMA's policy paper on Extended Producer Responsibility issued in June 2013 and expressed in the past. Among the observations are:
Producers should be individually responsible and while they can get help from a collective should have flexibility to choose how to achieve the outcomes as long as they comply with the standards set by government. They should have to file an annual report

Extended producer responsibility is an economic/environmental instrument making producers of packaging and products responsible for the costs (environmental, physical handling and financial) of the end-of-life of the product instead of making tax-supported municipalities responsible.

Individual/collective Responsibility

The producer can be individually responsible for their own products, ie this is polluter pay as the producer only pays the amount related to their own products. There could still be a collective collection system. In Collective Producer Responsibility, the program allocates costs by market share. With no payback for better design, some say that this model doesn't incentivize companies to improve their products. The OWMA paper suggests that some schemes known as product stewardship programs aren't EPR but just a form of taxation because the manufacturers or importers don't have any other responsibility or liability. The policy suggests that IFOs (Industry Funded Organizations) set up monopolies.

Changes Needed for Waste Diversion in Ontario

OWMA's paper sets out some of the changes needed from how the WDA works:
Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Despite decades of posting progressive and effective notices on the Environmental Registry on waste reduction and diversion, "the ministry has not made any real progress on this file", until now, says the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

MOE seemed to be on track when posting in a 2008 review of the Waste Diversion Act a discussion paper, Toward a Zero Waste Future and in 2009, From Waste to Worth: The Role of Waste Diversion in the Green Economy both posted on the Environment Registry for public discussion. This last focussed on individual producer responsibility. Gord Miller wrote in his blog, "But then, on July 1, 2010, the garbage hit the fan. That was the day that MOE’s municipal hazardous or special waste (MHSW) program was expanded to include 13 additional categories of household hazardous waste (including rechargeable batteries, fire extinguishers, fluorescent bulbs, etc.). Because inclusion in the program meant that producers of these products had to pay stewardship fees to cover the costs of managing them at end-of-life, some retailers started adding a separate “eco fee” line to their receipts, presumably in anticipation of these fees being passed on to them by producers (and also, presumably, to indicate to consumers the source of these new costs). Unfortunately, these retailer-imposed fees created widespread confusion and anger that a “recycling tax” was being imposed by the government, and the negative media and public outcry led the government to withdraw the expanded program, transferring the costs of managing these wastes from producers back to taxpayers (for more information, see my Special Report on “eco fees” and the expanded MHSW program). Suddenly, waste diversion and producer responsibility became political hot potatoes, putting on hold MOE’s plans to fix the broken waste diversion system."

Miller notes that there is no such things as eco fees or new taxes set by the government as it is the stewardship groups that set the fees. In some cases, in July 2010 retailers like Canadian Tire which seemed to be the most profiled retailer in the media were charging "eco fees" that were higher than any of the fees producers were to pay through the industry funded organization IFOs. Other retailers like Shoppers Drug Mart didn't charge the fees at the time due to uncertainty of what to charge. The Ministry of the Environment was the prime target of consumer/media ire; in August, 2010, Environment Minister John Gerretsen was shuffled out of this ministry with headlines such as in the Toronto Star, "John Gerretsen demoted over eco fee fiasco". GallonLetter notes however that the fiasco reflected very badly on industry as well with later commentary seeing the industry funded organizations as negative market forces, skewing the market through monopolistic activities which lead to costly and inefficient recycling charged indiscriminately to consumers with insufficient accountability and not enough oversight by government.

In 2012, the Commissioner convened a meeting of 30 stakeholders to develop a framework for the revision to the waste diversion laws and he sees the proposed Waste Reduction Act as "lifting the fog of inaction" and finally moving forward: "Amongst other things, the proposed Waste Reduction Act would establish IPR requirements, ensure consumer protection by prohibiting surprise “eco fees” at the register, require producers to reimburse municipalities for the costs of collecting and handling products at end-of-life, and install a Waste Reduction Authority to oversee the compliance and enforcement of the new IPR regime. The ECO hopes that the Legislature uses this as an opportunity to debate waste reduction solutions and finally make much-needed progress on this important issue."

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Scrap tires in Ontario are managed under the industry-funded Ontario Tire Stewardship OTS which sets a sliding scale of fees charged when new tires are purchased.

OTS, one of the four provincial recycling programs under the current Waste Diversion Act WDA (2002) is governed by brand owners and importers known as the stewards, administrating the program since 2009. For example, among the directors on the OTS Board are:
Sarah Webb, Manager, Product & Environmental Stewardship at Canadian Tire Corporation
Usman Valiente, Director, Environmental Affairs, Ontario Tire Dealers Association
Joelle Assaraf, Director of Commodity Tax at Costco Canada

The new Waste Reduction Act provides for the four existing IFOs to continue into a transition period which Andrew Horsman, Executive Director of OTS suggests is expected to end 2017. A lot of space in the new Act relates to winding up these IFOs with exemptions for the Brewers Retail. Inc. and quite a few sections on enforcement. However, the Ministry can only enforce the law so much of the impact depends on the regulations which may designate waste as being a product, any part of a product, a container or packaging, or any combination as well as defining waste classes. A producer is described as a person who manufactures the products, owns, licenses or has rights to the product, sells the product to a person in Ontario, imports the product into Ontario, has rights to the brand or has a commercial connection and who meets the conditions including specified activities to be specified in the regulation. GallonLetter thinks much depends yet on the devil in the details. While EPR laws are often interrelated with other laws, as EPR policies develop, regulators can learn from each other. For example, even though, we all think we know what packaging is, the courts may not agree. For example, a decade or so ago, the UK Environment Agency sued a horticultural producer because it was not participating in producer responsibility for packaging in relation to plant pots but the court decided that a plant and its pot cannot be separated: a plant pot was deemed not to be packaging.

GallonLetter notes that some say that this new proposed Act will get rid of free riders (those producers who sell product and don't pay) but there are always gaps, what are called orphans (products not allocated to any existing producer) and historical waste. To a considerable extent, OTS now collects all kinds of tires including those dumped into public spaces. If the producers pay only for the recovery of the same number (and type) of tires they put into the Ontario marketplace (they don't actually have to collect their own tires but are in compliance if they collect designated waste in that waste class), historical waste may still be an issue. Whatever it is, it could be a big change. "I think it's a paradigm shift," said Michael Blumenthal, VP of the Rubber Manufacturers Association quoted in "If this is enacted, it means Ontario will go from a completely subsidized scrap tire program to a free market program in two years."

Farmers Protest Spring Hikes in Tire Recycling Fees

Ontario, unlike some other EPR programs elsewhere does not exempt tires used for off-road vehicles so in Ontario, farm equipment tires and other tires have been included. A new fee structure was implemented in April 2013 by OTS based on weight instead of diameter and use. The OTS proposal for the fees raised farmer outrage. Fees for common tires were to be raised from $15.29 to a range of $29.40 to $47.04 while the maximum fee was raised from $250.20 to $1,311.24. In response to lobbying by farm organizations like the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the OTS fee schedule was amended to class tires up to up to 250 kg in the under $47.04 category and all tires over 250 kg at $182.28. If farmers purchase tires from outside Ontario, they are still responsible for paying the stewardship fee to OTS.

OTS is using some of its funds to research use of recycling tire material in such products as landscape and playground tiles, shingles and mulch, stall mats for cows and horses.

The shift to individual producer responsibility and the removal of the mandatory fees is seen as a fundamental shift in the organization of how tires are recycled in Ontario. OTS says it has overseen the recycling of 50 million tires at a rate of more than 95% or as Andrew Horsman, Executive Director of OTS says, "This phenomenal success is a result of our collective commitment to diverting tires from burning and landfills, and is a testament to the effectiveness of the Ontario tire recycling industry."

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Environment Canada has an inventory of Extended Producer Responsibility and Product Stewardship Programs (web site has date 2012-07) which includes:
The search menu covers national, provincial or territorial and product categories which are:
Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Brand owners and first sellers that introduce packaging or printed paper (PPP) into the British Columbia residential market must submit a stewardship plan or be part of a plan submitted to the BC Ministry of Environment by November 19, 2012 and implemented by May 2014. The BC program is the first industry-managed full EPR packaging and printed paper program in Canada. With deposit return, depot and curbside recycling, about 50 to 57% of this material is being currently collected. Glass containers, some of which are covered by deposit return as well, are no longer going to be collected curbside but will be accepted at depots; some municipalities oppose and others have already implemented the removal of glass from curbside collection. The regulation relates to residential waste although the Ministry is considering whether to expand to ICI sectors. As with most of the BC EPRs, some of which also have targets for subcategories, the mandated recovery rate is 75%.

MultiMaterial BC MMBC: the non-profit organization overseeing collection services for the new British Columbia's EPR for packaging and printed paper is changing the word of companies obligated to be responsible for their end of life products to “stewards” to reflect the environmental part of the responsibility and their obligations under the MMBC stewardship program. MMBC submitted its plan three times and got approval for its April 9, 2013 plan as it relates to materials and products listed in Section 5 of the Recycling Regulation. All the stewardship programs in BC are covered by the single Recycling Regulation with new products added as amendments with the addition of a schedule for a particular material or product category. A list of BC's products with industry stewardship is at Companies can also set up their own management of their end-of-life products.

MMBC's Board of Directors

MMBC's Board of Directors includes Retail Council of Canada, Food and Consumer Products of Canada, Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association, Loblaw Companies Limited, Overwaitea Food Group, Tim Hortons and McCain Foods.

Achieving the 75% Recovery Target

To achieve the target, MMBC plans to:
Accessibility of residents to recovery programs is an important issue e.g. number of depots within a certain distance or number of households served by curbside collection. GallonLetter sees switching from curbside to depots as a reduction in service. While in theory, if a person can buy it and bring it home, the same person should also be able to take it to the depot, in practice several things make it difficult. For one thing, the nature of the product changes when it is used much like that nice tidily bundled Christmas Tree becomes a mess of dropping needles. Even empty bottles have been known to contain liquid which stains the car seat. For another thing, depots are often in different places from where the product is bought (see separate article on Taiwan which requires depots at 14 retail outlets where take-back products are sold). So a senior might be able to walk to the local store to buy a product but can't easily get to the depot especially if a number of items have to be carried to be returned. Some consumer combine trips to depots with regular shopping but many people might make special trips just to get rid of stuff increasing the energy costs associated with transportation of recyclables.


Among EPR models are different definitions of which companies are obligated to participate. In this case, the differentiation is based on whether a producer is considered to have residency in BC. Residency includes an office, workshop, warehouse, factory, any fixed place of business including a home office, land ownership. If employees or agents of the company are located in BC and can sign an order that would bring in stock even if that comes from elsewhere, that is residency. An insurance company registered in BC has residency. Any physical activity such as manufacturing, packaging, mining, growing, creating or constructing in whole or in part has residency.

Non-residency includes those with only a BC Post Office box. If a company has only agents receiving a commission rather than some regular form of compensation it has no residency. A parent company with no permanent establishments isn't obligated but it may have a subsidiary that is resident. When the only purpose of the company office is to purchase merchandise it is not considered resident.

Once considered to have residency, a company is obligated if it
Producers are expected to pay including the administration costs, education of residents to promote collection and material management at collection and post-collection. Fees also cover research and development to overcome technical and market capacity barriers.

Producers will be expected to provide data on such things on what their products are and in which packaging, the quantity supplied to BC residents, types of materials, weight of each materials used, types of printed paper and quantity supplied.

Packaging and Printed Paper

The definition of packaging is from the Environmental Management Act and includes primary packaging for the residential customer and grouped packaging that goes to the household e.g. water bottles wrapped in film plastic, transportation, distribution or tertiary packaging that goes to the household e.g. if product is packed in cardboard boxes taken home, and service packaging designed and intended to be filled at the point of sale and “disposable” items sold, filled or designed and intended to be filled at the point of sale such as:
a. Paper or plastic carry-out bags provided at checkout
b. Bags filled at the shelves with bulk goods, produce, baked goods etc.
c. Disposable plates and cups
d. Take-out and home delivery food service packaging such as pizza boxes, cups, bags, folded cartons, wraps, trays etc.
e. Flower box/wrap
f. Food wraps provided by the grocer for meats, fish, cheese, etc.
g. Prescription bottles filled and provided by pharmacists
h. Paper envelopes for developed photographs
I. Gift wrapping/tissue paper added by the retailer

Also included are packaging components and ancillary elements integrated into packaging, including ancillary elements directly hung or attached to a product and which perform a packaging function unless they are an integral part of the product and all elements are intended to be consumed or disposed of together. Examples include labels, lids, brushes carried by the lid e.g. brush for liquid paper, staples, clips, measuring cups part of the lid, plastic make-up case, zipper on plastic bag. Paper includes paper made of a variety of material such as bamboo.

Printed paper includes telephone directories but not bound books such as reference, library or text books.

GallonLetter notes that these definitions are rather important as they affect the range of companies affected e.g. restaurants, drug stores and fast food shops.


Collectors must qualify by meeting specific standards. MMBC will provide financial incentive to local governments and First Nations communities and if these jurisdictions don't accept, will set up a separate PPP curbside collection service. For private companies operating multi-family collection services, MMBC will also provide public education, promotion and management of collection service. Incentives will also be offered for depots for single and multi-family residences. Collectors must provide free access to residents. If PPP is also collected in organic waste collected by local governments, MMBC will provide a "market-clearing price" financial incentive to account for the amount of PPP in the organic waste but if the offer is refused won't undertake to collect organic waste.

The market clearing price which is only for collection not post collection activities is a subject of some controversy as some question what the meaning of it is. It is defined as the price at which the market will supply the services required by the agreement with MMBC for most efficiency such as reducing costs to below the price. Price might be set at a flat rate per tonne, household served or some other means to maximize the amount of PPP diverted from garbage.


Contracts between processors and MMBC will set minimum processing system efficiencies including qualification standards.

Education and Public Reporting

The Recycling Regulation requires a resident education program. MMBC's plan outlines a communication plan. The organization will also compile data on indicators and report annually including greenhouse gas emissions. The regulation requires third party assurance of the annual report.

Product Life Cycle Management

Producers which are members of MMBC are to contribute to reducing the environmental life cycle of the packaging and printed material including:
GallonLetter thinks this is one of the weaker links in the EPR effects because the cost of recycling is still relatively small compared to the value to the brand of design features which may include multi-materials difficult to recycle.

Pollution Prevention

The PPP plan outlines activities MMBC will undertake to ensure recovery is subject to the Pollution Prevention Hierarchy:
Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.

One of the problems with the focus on charging fees for end-of-life of recyclable products is that it is often cheaper to send stuff to garbage. In some cases, the fees for recyclable products have had perverse results e.g. redesigning packaging so it doesn't qualify for the blue box and the associated stewardship costs. Quebec's updated residual materials management includes a brief discussion on the goal of reducing residual materials, "despite major recovery and reclamation efforts, too many residual materials are sent for disposal. To counter this problem, the government intends to take measures to discourage the disposal of residual material and avoid the waste of resources." From GallonLetter's reading the plan is a little short of concrete action but one of the items is to increase disposal fees and to further raise fees if that doesn't work. Although waste incineration is allowed new waste incinerators over 2 metric tons an hour must comply with what is called 4R-D hierarchy and recycling goals and must recover energy generated by combustion. 4R-D is
"To ensure that residual materials are subject to the most sustainable management methods, any waste management plan or program developed by the Minister will give priority to source reduction and, in treating these materials, will respect the following order: reuse, recycling (including by biological treatment or landspreading), any other form of reclamation by which residual materials are treated for use as a substitute for raw materials, energy production, and disposal. However, deviating from this order will be possible when an analysis demonstrates this is justified based on a goods and services life cycle approach." Energy performance, greenhouse gas balance, final destination of waste and compliance with air emission standards are part of the criteria.

Greater responsibility for producers especially in regard to packaging for recycling are to be put in place. Where producers of containers, packaging and written media used to pay 50% of the net costs borne by municipalities, companies will be expected to assume the full cost and over time assume full responsibility for managing the program. Quebec is said to be the first province to charge 100% of costs to producers beginning in 2013 for certain specified products. under the amendments to the Environment Quality Act. ie for containers, packaging and printed material collected curbside by municipalities. The fees rose over three years from 50% to 70% in 2010, 80% in 2011 and 90% in 2012. In addition, contribution to Recyc-Quebec for its management separate from the compensation to the municipalities increased fees about 4%.

Magazines were added to the printed matter class which changed from 20% to 30% of costs. Other cost increases included a 10% increase in net costs of curbside recycling and another 10% for the establishment of a Risk Fund to deal with the risk of under estimating the actual costs.

These costs are much higher than in Ontario where industry has paid 50%. Quebec has a different distribution of costs among materials e.g. Ontario allocates about 5% of costs to printed material while Quebec's is six times that at 30%.

Where products are less suitable for curbside collection because of their hazards, size, weight or reclamation potential, producers are more able to find end-of-life management solutions. Extension of producer responsibility is to include new product categories such as electronic products, batteries, mercury lamps. Phase Two of Quebecs' Environment Quality Act Regulation Respecting the Recovery and Reclamation of Products by Enterprises c. Q-2, r 40.1 covers primary and rechargeable batteries as components of other products starting July 14, 2013. Batteries sold separately were in Phase One implemented July 14, 2012. Enterprises can set up their own individual recovery and reclamation or join Call2Recycle which is the official battery program operator by Recyc-Quebec, the Quebec government agency.

Producers can also redesign products to be more environmentally friendly..

A key performance indicator will be kilograms of disposed waste per capita.

Over 40% of residual materials in Quebec are produced by the industrial, commercial and institutional ICI sector with half of that waste ending up in landfill. Materials such as wood, drywall, metals, asphalt shingles, carpets, insulation and cardboard often end up at disposal sites. Increased fees for disposal of these products and ban on organic materials are seen as a way to change how the two sectors ICI and CRD handle waste. Some of the fees collected may be used to help develop technologies and methodologies to make recycling more efficiency.

If outside-the-home collection of beverage containers can be made as effective as residential curbside collection, the government is considering get rid of deposit return for soft drinks. Because beer bottles are refilled, a deposit will remain on those even if the deposit on soft drinks is eliminated.

Northern communities may be treated differently because of distances and other factors.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


"Emerging extended producer responsibility ("EPR") program may impact our customer relations and revenues" according to the Progressive Waste Solutions (BFI Canada and others) Quarterly Report (March 2013). More jurisdictions in Canada and the US are implementing or are considering legislation or regulation which could affect the company's contracts. Among the observations are:
BFI's report suggests that one approach is for the company to join or partner with stewardship organizations to be better able to provide services producers need. GallonLetter notes that the issue of serving multiple interests possibly in conflict with each other has been a criticism levelled at industry-funded stewardship organizations and some of the people who are providing expert or administrative services serving several masters. In many of the environmental service sectors, it is difficult for consultants not to work for a number of different clients but it is an issue that needs to be considered.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


California's Alameda County ordinance on pharmaceutical EPR which was to come into effect July 2013 notes that in the US no federal or state legislation requires medicine take-back even though various bills have been proposed. And the producers haven't offered any support for a collection program to date. Canadian examples are given in support ie British Columbia requiring manufacturer-funded drug collection since 1996, Ontario in 2010 and Manitoba in 2011. Other countries such as France, Spain, Portugal and others are also mentioned as having manufacturer-funded drug collection programs.

Even where jurisdictions don't have manufacturer-paid collection, other collection of medicines is sometimes offered as is the case in Alameda. For example, hazardous waste days may accept medicines, the jurisdiction may have special collection days for pharmaceuticals. GallonLetter notes that in Ontario, the web site of the medicine stewardship program says pharmacies accept return of medicines. The web site allows consumers to search for local pharmacists who are expected to take back leftover medicines. The one time we tried this with a very small number of vials, the pharmacy was very reluctant although they did accept them. We weren't sure that the drugstore was really going to see that they were recycled rather than just thrown in the garbage.

EPR programs for medicines vary in what is accepted. The Alameda County Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance would not cover vitamins and supplements, herbal remedies and homeopathic products, cosmetics soaps, sunscreens, lip balm, antiperspirants, and other personal care products, pet pesticide products, nonprescription drugs, medical devices, component parts or accessories even if the device contains a covered drug.

The ordinance has been put on hold due to a lawsuit with one of the plaintiffs Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) whose lawyers indicate that a lawsuit would also be launched against King County where the Board of Health called for rule on medicine take-back in June 2013. The lawsuit claims that the rule infringes the Constitution which contains a Commerce Clause which prohibits shifting costs of a local program to manufacturers in other states.

Paid subscribers see link to original documents and references here.


Taiwan is a highly populated country in a relatively small space, said to be the second most densely populated country in the world (2007). In the 1960s and 1970s. Taiwan was economically underdeveloped with average income per capita under $2000 with little environmental protection. Before 1984, waste was often just dumped in open space with only 2.4% ending up in landfill.(Who would have thought that a low percentage going to waste disposal could be a negative - just goes to show care is needed interpreting waste statistics.) This dumped waste known as "Stacked-Up" created serious health and environmental problems. After a six year plan beginning in 1984 and with subsidies for local government to build landfills, 179 landfills were built and disposal of garbage increased from 2.4% to 56%. All those landfills were taking up valuable space so a new guideline was developed for incineration first, landfill as an alternative. By 2002, 19 large scale incinerators were handling 48% of the disposal. About 93% of waste ended up in garbage disposal/incineration instead of being stacked-up in streets and any available space.

The next phase focussed on minimization of garbage through recycling and reuse. A 2012 government press release celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Environmental Protection Administration said that the average daily weight of waste per citizen slashed from 1.14 kg in 1997 to 0.43 kg in 2011 and waste recycling rate increased from 5.87 percent to over 60 percent, "making Taiwan one of the world's leaders in reuse management. This was a miracle in terms of environmental protection." The government committed to "transforming Taiwan into a low-carbon and high-recycling homeland."

4-in-1 Program

Taiwan, like Canada, has a plethora of local and other jurisdictions which make waste management regulation complicated. But unlike Canada, Taiwan has a national regulation for certain products. The national program uses a single logo to indicate which products are regulated for recycling, a very beneficial education tool as the consumer just needs to look at the product for the 4-in-1 logo, which is a square with 4 recycling arrows, to know whether it is regulated for recycling.

In 1997, manufacturers and importers were required to pay fees for garbage disposal and clearance. Regulated recyclable waste RRW is divided into categories with a specified number of items in each category. Each recyclable waste has a channel for recycling such as local government agencies, mandated depots set up by retailers and private recyclers. A number of other items not regulated such as waste paper, used clothing and additional metals are collected for their value in recycling and reuse. Later amendments to the legislation requires businesses to recycle and reuse renewable resources.

Other regulations cover other aspects of waste e.g. general waste includes other waste which can be recovered such as food waste, bulk waste, and general recyclable waste but within the General recyclable waste is RRW (Regulated, Recyclable Waste) which covers 13 categories in the 4-in-1 program:
The manufacturers and importers of new RRW or raw material have responsibility for collection, transportation and recycling for products and containers. Retailers bear responsibility for collection and transportation.. Those who pay into the recycling fund get a subsidy for the value of the recycled material which is said to provide an incentive to design for recycling. The subsidy is based on certified quantities.

The public EPAT (The Resource and Recycling Management Fund) decides on the fee rate. Auditing of manufacturers and auditing and certification of collectors and recyclers is part of the legislation.

Reasons for including products as RRW are:
The recycling fund
Take Back Collection Facilities

The law requires that 14 types of businesses provide collection facilities including supermarkets, convenience stores, cleaning and cosmetic retailers, light bulb retailers, fast food restaurants, gas stations, packaged beverage vendors in gas stations, wireless communication equipment retailers, photographic equipment retailers, home appliance retailers, vending machine and "chain store of drinks".

The logo is used on the collection containers as well so consumers know where to put the products.

Taiwan's waste management has many challenges including the problems of disposing of so much fly ash and other hazardous waste, illegal dumping, political and other conflicts-of-interests working against enforcement, waste transport in the congestion of very dense cities. Taiwan also is trying to include the smaller businesses into the waste management approach as there is a history of many small companies used to scavenging and difficult to regulate.

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The example of other Asian cities in achieving very good results in waste reduction informs the Hong Kong plan for sustainable use of resources to 2022 released May 2013 which says, "Their experience tells us that Hong Kong can do very much better if we take coordinated and simultaneous action on waste prevention, reuse, recycling, recovery, treatment and landfilling, as part of a whole resources management chain. Hong Kong has fallen behind because we have only taken some of the steps. We need to urgently fill in the gaps." HK's target is to reduce per capita MSW disposal rated from 1.27 kg per day in 2011 to 1.0 kg by 2017 and to 0.08 kg or a 40% reduction by 2022.

Among the challenges are:
One model discussed in the HK plan is Taipei City in Taiwan. In 1996 Hong Kong and Taipei had similar waste disposal per capita per day - just over 1.2 kg. While the HK plan notes that waste is counted in different ways: Taipei's is household garbage while Hong Kong is MSW in 2011 HK's waste production is still over 1.2 kg per person per day while Taipei's is 1.0 Kg (Taiwan as a whole is .4 kg and GallonLetter notes that Canada's municipal waste is over 2.1 kg. per person per day).

Taipei's Actions Which HK Identifies as Key to Success

After source separation and reduction, remaining waste in Taipei City is treated in three incinerators and then landfilled. The HK blueprint suggests that the way Taipei City reduced waste was public education and volume-based MSW charging. When Hong Kong charged for disposal of construction waste, waste loads to landfill fell by 60%
Charging for waste, both households and commercial/industrial units combined with Producer Responsibility Scheme which apply the Polluter Pays Principles, helped to develop recycling industries and create green jobs in Taipei. Key legislative points include:

Taipei: 1997 4 in 1 resource recovery
2000 volume based waste system
2002 Plastics restriction policies on disposing cutlery and shopping bags
2004 Set up Food waste recovery system
2005 Mandatory waste separation
2006 Mandatory food waste recover

In 2011 Taiwan had a recycling rate of 52%, incineration 46% and landfill 2%

Producer Responsibility Schemes are planned as part of the 10 year Hong Kong blueprint including:
Other products to be reviewed over time.

China: Ban on Specified Waste Imports

Mainland China's ban on import of plastic waste unless it met specific conditions e.g. sorted has put up what some call a Green Wall about five months ago. Hong Kong recyclers (and many others from around the world) have been used to sending plastic waste to China where while some waste is recycled other waste is just dumped causing negative environmental impacts. China's ban highlights that producer responsibility needs to ensure that the product really is recycled.

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Just because the term EPR is not used in legislation, doesn't mean that the effect isn't the same, according to Laurie Hansen Sheets, executive director of the US-based Western Plastics Association. She suggests that the California's Senate Bill 529, the Plastic and Marine Pollution Reduction, Recycling and Composting Act is really EPR. The bill sets high standards for curbside recycling, and prohibits fast food chains from using disposable food service packaging or single use bags which are not either recyclable or compostable. Statewide targets for packaging recycling or composting set at 25% are to be achieved by 2016. Sheets said that the bill is "EPR for everybody in the plastics industry" but with the emphasis on reducing marine debris to protect coastlines which appeals to many Californians. The bill "died" due to lack of a vote at committee but bills are active for two years and can be revived.

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"What Transport Canada requires is performance," said Pierre Poilievre, then Parliamentary Secretary to the federal Transport Minister, recently promoted to Minister of State when asked on CBC's The House about the impact of one person crews in relation to the oil-carrying train cars and the deadly explosion in Lac-Megantic, "There must be a certain performance of safety in the entire system and we show up and present as a department 20,000 inspections in a given year to ensure that safety performance is present. It's up to the railway to take responsibility for how it achieves that level of performance. Some railways believe they can operate safely with one operator, some railways use more than one. What's important to Transport Canada is the safety outcome.

Right now we don't know if the problem in Lac Megantic is in any way linked to the number of operators on board the trains. We know one thing it wasn't a one man crew or a two man crew it was a zero man crew. So it is possible that this has nothing to do with the number of operators."

In general, GallonLetter supports the idea that government should regulate performance rather than specify for companies how to achieve this but there appear to be a few missing links in how the federal government is dealing with transport of hazardous goods. Just saying that safety performance is the responsibility of the railway is not government regulation of performance. First of all, we could hardly believe we heard right when Poilievre said that no crew on duty was somehow evidence that crew numbers were irrelevant. We listened again and transcribed it to make sure we did hear right. No wonder those Transport Canada safety inspections don't work if there is no concept that performance regulation has to have some measures: e.g. in lieu of fail-safe technology (something which seems to be rare indeed) some people must be available and able to perform duties needed to ensure safety. It's like operating an intensive care unit without any medical staff and then saying, we'll just have to wait to determine why the patient died. Sure, the patient might have died anyway but the chances for survival are much less if there is no emergency response or skilled oversight during the greatest vulnerability to crisis.

Thomas Mulcair, federal Opposition Leader, took some early flack for criticizing the government for cutting corners on the transport of hazardous products, cuts and deregulating which led to the explosion in the small Quebec town. Some of the flack about Mulcair reaching his conclusion too early was from the Conservative Party government which itself doesn’t seem too worried about not having any evidence at all to support its deregulation of the environment. Mulcair’s persistence and continuing insistence may have led to Transport Canada taking some early steps in policy changes and an opportunity for the NDP to present a motion to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities convened on July 23, 2013 by the request of four members of the committee.

2011 CESD Report

Accidents and tragedies happen at times despite best effort at prevention but the December 2011 report of the Scott Vaughan, then Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, suggests serious problems in transportation of hazardous goods in Canada, not only on rail but other modes such as air, ship and pipeline. Among the headings for the observations and recommendations were:

"Transport Canada
There is no national risk-based compliance inspection plan
There is a lack of follow-up by Transport Canada on identified deficiencies
Transport Canada does not know the extent to which organizations transporting dangerous goods are complying with regulations
Transport Canada does not conduct an adequate, timely review when approving emergency response assistance plans
Management has not acted on long-standing concerns regarding inspection and emergency plan review practices

National Energy Board
There is a lack of follow-up by the Board on identified deficiencies
Oversight of emergency procedures manuals is deficient
The Board has designed a sound risk-based monitoring approach, but improvements are needed in its implementation"

Chapter 1 of the 2011 audit report gives more details.

The Commissioner wrote that "Environmental stewardship is complex. It must be supported by scientific knowledge, environmental monitoring and effective enforcement." He said his report "cites a lack of diligence by Environment Canada, Transport Canada and the National Energy Board in verifying that regulated parties have corrected identified instances of non-compliance." GallonLetter notes that without enforcement, there will always be companies which will make money by cutting corners; without enforcement, "performance regulation" becomes an excuse for lack of proper management by government causing harm to innocent bystanders and the environment, as an unintentional (we hope) but inevitable result of the pursuit of "economic action." at all costs.

Recent press coverage in relation to the train explosion show Transport Canada may have made less progress than they committed to in response to the audit report.

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Eco Canada administers two programs funding internship programs in environmental roles:
Such funding may be available in cycles but it is something for both new grads and companies to be aware of. Earlier in the season, we were asked for some advice, directed the grad to ECO Canada and the funding was approved quite quickly and the recent grad was soon working in an environmental field. ECO Canada also maintains an environmental jobs board.

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Wild relatives of crop plants are seen as an important source for developing new crop varieties to adapt to global environment changes, according to a new report by PwC (see GallonDaily). Some see perennial crops as moving towards sustainability because they protect soil and habitat because they hold the soil and need less tillage. New fruit crops are showing up locally as well.

GallonLetter has met several local tree seedling growers of Pawpaw, a small, tropical-looking tree with the largest edible fruit of any native tree which used to be common in southwestern Ontario and is grown in eastern North America; the local tree growers have waiting lists for seedlings. Ernest Grimo of Niagara-on-the-Lake who ought to receive an Order of Ontario at least for his lifelong work on developing nut crops as well as other rare tree fruit sells pawpaws to specialty restaurants but only on condition that the "genetic material" ie the seed is returned to the Grimo farm.

Purple-blue Saskatoon berries were used by native peoples to make pemmican and for many people on the prairies were traditional foraged-from-the-wild ingredients for pies and jams and now are sold at our local farm markets. GallonLetter's editor found it amusing when we were in Niagara Falls where the landscaping included saskatoon berry trees; there were signs all over advising tourists "Please do not feed the Raccoons" - the only trouble was that the raccoons were feeding themselves: the dozen of trees were loaded with luscious fat berries and with fat raccoons who shook the small trees as they scrambled all over to eat the berries.

One fruit we weren't able to find to try is the edible blue honeysuckle so we were delighted to find it for sale at a local farm market; once we expressed some knowledge about haskap the grower who was very pleased about the success of her new crop told us all about it: how long it takes for the shrub to produce, the eagerness of birds to eat them, their delicacy, the wonderful taste, the plans for the future to grow different varieties.

Haskap from Blue Berry Honeysuckle

A type of edible blue berry honeysuckle, the name of Haskap is said to apply to only seven varieties most of which have been bred and selected at the University of Saskatchewan field trials. At Haskap Day held July 19, 2013, attendees could see, taste berries and find out how haskaps are grown, how selections have been made from native Canadian, Japanese and Russian varieties and harvested. Dr. Bob Bors, one of the key presenters, also wrote a paper about the challenges of propagating from wild stock which tend to be too variable for commercial production: "The good varieties taste something like blueberries and raspberries. The bad ones taste like tonic water!" The variations of the wild stock may make the berries unsuitable for commercial production. In the wild, the berries can be pointed which makes them too vulnerable to damage, too small, lumpy and too sparse. Getting the taste, the right shape and larger size, enough firmness for mechanical harvesting without sacrificing tenderness requires thousands of seedlings to be grown and evaluated. And then certain varieties only set fruit if there is another variety of haskap which blooms at the same time.

By buying these less-well-known crops especially those produced locally, eaters can help develop the local farm-to-consumer economy, the possible environmental benefits of protecting wild genes and the habitat of wild species which could provide similar benefits over the long term.

Isaacs, Colin. Wild relatives of food crops have a potential value of $196 billion. GallonDaily. July 23, 2013.

Bors, Bob. Haskap: The shape of things to come? Breeding plants can be so fun!

Haskap Canada Association. Haskap Day - U of SK 2013. July 2013.


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