What Stewards Need to Know

How do I know if I am or my company is a steward?

Steward is the word used to describe a company or organization that is obligated by the Recycling Regulation (the Regulation) to manage the recovery of its packaging and printed paper from residential households. In practice, this means brand owners and first sellers of consumer products delivered in packaging that have been supplied to households, or of paper that is printed with text or graphics as a medium for communicating. Please refer to Section 1.6 of our Guidebook for Stewards to determine if your organization or company is a steward.

My organization is located outside of BC but is based in Canada and supplies products with packaging or printed paper to residents of BC. How can I still demonstrate environmental responsibility for my packaging and/or printed paper?

A voluntary steward refers to a steward located outside of the province where stewardship obligations are regulated but is based in Canada and supplies products to residents of BC.

Canadian-based, non-resident organizations can still demonstrate environmental responsibility for their packaging and/or printed paper by joining MMBC as a voluntary steward.

Steward Responsibility

The Government of BC has transitioned responsibility for the end-of-life management of packaging and printed paper from local governments and their taxpayers to industry. Under this extended producer responsibility (EPR) approach, stewards assume responsibility for the collection and processing of recycling their packaging and/or printed paper when consumers are finished with them. The Regulation represents the first 100% industry-led steward responsibility program for packaging and printed paper in Canada.

Recovery Targets

Stewards are obligated to recover 75% of packaging and printed paper supplied to residential consumers within a reasonable period of time. 

Stewards’ Legal Obligation in BC

In 2011, BC amended the Regulation to require stewards that sell packaging and printed paper into the BC residential marketplace to file a stewardship plan with the BC Ministry of Environment (MOE) by November 19, 2012. This requirement is laid out in Schedule 5 of the Regulation of the Environmental Management Act (2004).

Under this requirement, a steward had two options:

Packaging is…

Under the Environmental Management Act, “packaging is a material, substance or object that is used to protect, contain or transport a commodity or product, or is attached to a commodity or product or its container for the purpose of marketing or communicating information about the commodity or product.” Beverage containers, with the exception of milk containers, continue to be managed under the provincial deposit return program. Milk containers are included in MMBC’s Stewardship Plan.

Printed paper is…

Under Section 5 of the Regulation, printed paper is defined as “paper that is not packaging, but is printed with text or graphics as a medium for communicating information, and includes telephone directories, but does not include other types of bound reference books, bound literary books, or bound text books.”

Where does MMBC fit in?

MMBC is a non-profit agency, formed in 2011, in anticipation of the government adding packaging and printed paper as a new product category under the Regulation. MMBC submitted a Stewardship Plan to the BC government by the November 19, 2012, deadline and that Stewardship Plan was approved by the government in April 2013. 

What does this mean for businesses that operate in BC?

MMBC has developed a Stewardship Plan that meets the requirements of the Regulation, is cost effective and efficient and, where possible, achieves harmonization with existing provincial stewardship programs across Canada. Stewards can register to be a member of MMBC by visiting:

WeRecycle Registration & Reporting Portal