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Back  |  January 21, 2019  | 

What is EPR?

EPR stands for Extended Producer Responsibility. Simply put, EPR shifts the costs of managing recyclable materials from municipalities to producers. This starts with a mandate to producers through provincial legislation. Full EPR moves financial AND operational responsibility to producers. It is one step towards a circular economy—and economy that aims not to dispose of any materials.

Is this new?

No. In fact, many other provinces already have some form of EPR. We are in the enviable position of being able to learn from the mistakes of others, and take part in setting the trend for Canada.

What type of products are we talking about?

We are talking about the packaging and paper you would typically put in your curbside recycling bin, or take to a recycling depot.

DID YOU KNOW? Albertans are paying TWICE for recycling. EPR could change that!​

Who are the producers?

They are a diverse group of suppliers, importers, first-sellers, brand-owners, retailers and manufacturers—think Canadian Tire, Unilever, Walmart, London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sobeys, Procter and Gamble, etc. They can choose to either fulfill their EPR obligations individually, or by cooperating through a producer responsibility organization (PRO).

We already recycle things like bottles and tires. How is this different?

Product stewardship already exists in Alberta through programs for materials like electronics, paint, tires and used oil operated by organizations such as the Alberta Recycling Management Authority. These programs put the vast majority of recycling costs on municipal taxpayers. EPR is a special type of product stewardship that shifts costs from taxpayers to producers, AND incentivizes industry to find ways to waste less, and recycle more by making them financially and operationally responsible.

How is this going to impact businesses—large or small?

If your business is not a producer then you will be absolved of whatever fee you might pay for recycling.

If your business is a large producer operating in other Canadian provinces, you are already including the costs of EPR programs in the price of your products. If not, you may be obligated to start doing so under an Alberta EPR program. However, it is common practice to exempt small producers from EPR requirements. Businesses will also get the freedom to find the most efficient way to reduce or recycle the by-products of their business, rather than relying on government to have your best interests in mind by doing it for you.

Is this just another tax on Albertans?

Actually, it is the opposite. Producers are already incorporating the costs of EPR in other provinces into their national product pricing. The fact that taxpayers here are funding Albertan recycling programs means that Albertans are currently paying for recycling TWICE when they buy a box of cereal, and paying for recycling programs ELSEWHERE.

Establishing EPR in Alberta would remove a tax on Albertans.

In 2016, producers provided more than $367 million to fund provincially‐regulated paper and packaging recycling across Canada. Alberta received $0. Establishing EPR here would change that. By some estimates, EPR could reduce spending on recycling by $63M annually for Alberta communities.

DID YOU KNOW? EPR sheltered British Columbia from China's SWORD policy. It can foster the growth of a robust industry, and even create jobs!​ 

So, what next?

We need YOU to add your voice to the growing support for EPR! Dozens of municipalities—representing the vast majority of Alberta—have expressed their support for EPR, and agreed to participate in a study that will document the current system for collecting and recycling packaging and paper throughout the province. The baseline study is imperative for developing an EPR framework, but ONLY THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT can officially implement EPR. Contact your current (and/or future MLA) to let them know you don’t want to pay twice for recycling, and they need to support EPR in Alberta!​

Categories: Extended Producer Responsibility; Motions and Initiatives

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This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.​