Over the next while, the team that is working to develop North America’s first producer responsibility program for packaging and printed paper (PPP) will be posting here regularly. The topics will vary including events, issues and ideas that arise as we work toward, and then beyond, the November 19, 2012 plan filing date with the BC Ministry of Environment (MOE).
From having been involved in establishing a number of producer responsibility programs, we know that introducing a producer responsibility program for PPP in British Columbia is going to be a careful balancing act.
Consider that, in 2011 it is estimated that 50% of the available PPP from residents in BC was recycled. (See The Current System for Managing Residential Packaging and Printed Paper in BC, March 2012.) This performance is the outcome of the efforts of local governments, depot operators, private collection companies and processors all working together in a myriad of different ways across the province to collect and recycle PPP from 4.4 million British Columbians.
The advent of producer responsibility means stewards of PPP are responsible for implementing a program that will eventually achieve at least a 75% recovery rate while ensuring that recovered materials are properly recycled. The challenge is to find a way to undertake that responsibility by working with existing players to evolve the current system with minimal disruption to the efforts that have delivered the PPP recovery success the province enjoys today.
So to gather advice and insights, we are in the midst of a major effort to reach out to discuss how the residential PPP system currently works in BC and how it could work when stewards assume their responsibility to recover 75% of the PPP they supply into the marketplace.
The team has held more than 20 meetings with stakeholders in the past two weeks involving more than 60 people directly involved in delivering PPP services today. We’ve talked with staff at local governments in the lower mainland, on Vancouver Island and in the interior. And we’ve met with processors operating large urban material recovery facilities (MRFs) and smaller MRFs in more remote areas, including both for-profit and not-for-profit operators. We’ve discussed the practicalities of collecting PPP with operators of large urban and small rural depots.
There are more meetings scheduled this week and we will be reaching out to more stakeholders following the October 29 workshop to schedule meetings through November and early December.
The approach to a producer responsibility program for PPP being developed through these conversations will be described in a draft PPP stewardship plan which we expect to post on this website during the week of October 22, 2012.
The draft plan is not the final version that will be submitted to the MOE Director. Rather, it is a draft for review and discussion, starting with a workshop with simultaneous webcast on Monday, October 29. This workshop will be held at the Theater at UBC in Robson Square but will also be offered by webcast so that you can remain in your office while hearing the presentations, submitting your questions and listening to the questions and discussion taking place at the Theater. Register [link no longer valid] to participate in person or via webcast.
We invite stewards and other stakeholders to review the draft plan when it is posted in about nine days. Let us know what works for you and what you think could be improved. We look forward to meeting with you at the October 29 workshop and webcast.