What the New Recycling Regulation Means for Your Small Business

On May 19, 2014, businesses that supply packaging and printed paper to BC residents became responsible for collecting and recycling these materials when residents are finished with them. This is the result of an amendment to the Recycling Regulation, and is an example of ‘extended producer responsibility’, a model that already exists in BC for materials including used oil, tires, beverage containers, paint, antifreeze, and electronics.

As a result of the regulation Multi-Material BC (MMBC) created a plan to enable businesses to fulfill the obligations of the regulation by paying fees that are used to finance curbside, depot, and multi-family recycling programs in BC, either directly or by working with local governments, First Nations, private, and non-profit collectors.

Who Does the Regulation Impact?

While there are 400,000 businesses in BC, only a fraction of those businesses produce, sell, or import packaging and printed paper for use by BC residents, and these are the businesses that are obligated under the regulation. MMBC expects that approximately 2,000 to 3,000 businesses will need to become MMBC members or develop their own stewardship plan to meet their obligations under the Recycling Regulation.

The Small Business Exemption

Following three months of consultation with small businesses in BC, MMBC proposed a small business policy to exempt businesses that supply packaging and printed paper to BC residents. Your business will be exempt if you:

  • Have less than $1 million in revenue;
  • Supply less than 1 tonne (1,000 kilograms) of packaging and printed paper to BC residents; or
  • Operate as a single point of retail sale and are not supplied or operated as part of a franchise, a chain or under a banner.

The BC government is in the process of incorporating a small business exemption into the Recycling Regulation, and it is expected to be finalized shortly.

Low Volume Producers

MMBC also introduced simplified reporting for low-volume stewards that are not exempt as small businesses, but supply less than five tonnes of packaging and printed paper to BC residents.

Low-volume stewards can decide not to produce a detailed report specifying the amount and type of packaging and printed paper they supply to BC residents and pay a flat fee, instead of producing a report detailing that information pay fees based on the results of the report.

The flat fees are set as follows:

  • $550 for businesses that produce between 1 and 2.5 tonnes of packaging and printed paper
  • $1,200 for businesses that produce between 2.5 and 5 tonnes of packaging and printed paper

These fee thresholds are based on MMBC’s estimated cost of $455 per tonne to manage packaging and printed paper in BC and will be subject to change periodically.

How Do I Determine the Impact On My Business?

MMBC has developed an online tool for you to check whether your business qualifies for exemption as a small business, or whether you are a low-volume steward. When using the tool, remember to:

  • Use sales revenue related to BC, as sales outside BC are not covered under the regulation;
  • Enter only the packaging and printed paper that your business supplies to BC residents, as materials supplied outside BC or to other businesses are not covered under the regulation; and
  • Exclude packaging used for transporting goods, such as pallet wrap or packaging from appliances that is removed on deliver, as this packaging is not covered under the regulation.

This tool is intended to provide guidance; in addition, MMBC has a Steward Services Team available to answer your questions at:

Phone: 1-888-980-9549

Email: [email protected]

What Are My Next Steps?

If your business falls under the small business exemption, you are not required to do anything.

If your business is a low-volume steward, you will need to register with MMBC on the WeRecycle portal. Contact their Steward Services Team for assistance by phoning 1-888-980-9549 or emailing [email protected].

For more information, visit http://multimaterialbc.ca/stewards/small-businesses.