‘Steward’ is the word used to describe a company or organization that is obligated by the BC Recycling Regulation to manage the recovery of its packaging and/or paper products (PPP) from residential households.

A steward is an organization or company that is a resident in BC and is either a brand owner, first importer or franchisor that supplies obligated packaging and/or paper products to residents (household consumers) in BC.

We encourage you to review the Producer Guide to determine if your organization or company is a steward in BC and should join Recycle BC in order to fulfil the obligations of the BC Recycling Regulation.

A steward is a company or organization that can answer yes to all three of the following questions*:

  • Does your organization or company have residency** in BC?
  • Does your organization or company supply any designated packaging and/or paper into the BC residential marketplace?
  • Is your organization or company responsible for supplying the designated packaging and/or paper products as the brand owner, franchisor, or first importer of packaging and/or paper products?

*unless you meet the criteria for the small business exemption

** unless you are a franchisor outside BC with franchisees in BC

Steward Responsibility

The Government of BC has transitioned responsibility for the end-of-life management of packaging and paper product 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 paper product when consumers are finished with them. The Regulation represents the first 100% industry-led steward responsibility program for packaging and paper product in Canada.

Recovery Targets

Stewards are obligated to recover 75% of packaging and paper product 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 paper product 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 continue to be managed under the provincial deposit return program.

Paper product is…

In November 2017, the government amended Schedule 5 of the BC Recycling Regulation to expand the paper product category from printed paper to paper products. Paper product is now defined as paper of any description, including: flyers, brochures, booklets, catalogues, telephone directories, newspapers, magazines, paper fibre, and paper used for copying, writing or any other general use. This definition of paper does not include paper products that, by virtue of their anticipated use, could become unsafe or unsanitary to recycle, or any type of bound book not mentioned above. The regulation was further amended in September 2020 to include single-use products and packaging-like products.