Recycle BC Steward FAQs

Recycle BC is a non-profit organization formed in 2011 in response to the BC Recycling Regulation (formally named Multi-Material BC or MMBC).  The Regulation requires businesses and organizations that supply obligated packaging and printed paper (PPP) to BC consumers to operate a recycling program or be a member of an approved plan for managing these materials after their disposal by consumers. Recycle BC represents its members’ interests and acts on behalf of them to meet their obligations under the Recycling Regulation.  On behalf of its over 1,300 members Recycle BC provides residential recycling services to BC residents by either providing services directly to residents or by working with local governments, First Nations, private companies, and other non-profit organizations.  Recycle BC’s Stewardship Plan is the only approved stewardship plan for organizations that supply PPP to BC consumers.  Businesses that join Recycle BC report their materials and pay the required fees are in compliance with the BC Recycling Regulation.

The Recycling Regulation came into effect in October 2004 and transfers responsibility for the end-of-life management of packaging and printed paper materials from the government and its taxpayers to the businesses that supply these materials. Schedule 5 of the Regulation, which came into effect in May 2011, requires that as of May 2014, every producer of packaging and printed paper that supplies PPP into the BC residential marketplace operate or be a member of an approved plan concerning the end-of-life management of their products.  By being a member of Recycle BC, obligated businesses are in compliance with the Recycling Regulation.

If your organization is located in British Columbia and is the brand owner or a first importer that supplies packaging and/or printed paper materials to consumers then your business is obligated and required to join Recycle BC and participate in the stewardship program.

If you are a franchisor with franchisees in BC, you are obligated by the Recycling Regulation (regardless of your residency in BC) and need to report and pay fees on the materials supplied to consumers by your franchisees.

There are some exemptions from the Regulation and some opportunities for simplified reporting for some small businesses; please review the small business section of the Recycle BC site for more information.

To become a member of the Recycle BC program please visit the WeRecycle Portal and follow the steps to register as a new steward. If your company is already a steward with any of the other programs managed by Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance (CSSA) and you have a steward number, then you can log onto the portal and simply add the Recycle BC program to your steward account.  You will also need to complete and upload a signed Recycle BC Membership Agreement and upload it into the portal.  Stewards can also access a Portal User Guide which provides assistance in registering and navigating the portal.  Once the registration process is completed and the Membership Agreement uploaded, stewards can begin working on their reports which will be submitted through the same portal.  Our National Steward Services team are available to help you if you require any further help. You can contact them at 1-888-980-9549 or stewards@cssalliance.ca.

A brand owner is an organization or company that is the registrant of a trademark or, if the brand/trademark is unregistered, then the organization or company that owns the intellectual property rights to the brand or trademark and takes on the role of “brand owner”.  Please see section 1.10.1 in the Guidebook for more information on how to determine if your company is the brand owner for the materials you distribute to consumers in BC.

The BC government has implemented a small business policy in order to reduce the administrative burden of the Recycling Regulation on small businesses.   All the information you need to determine if you are eligible for a small business exemption or if you are eligible for simplified reporting and flat fee payments can be found here.

Joining Recycle BC is easy. Go to the WeRecycle Registration and Reporting Portal to sign up with Recycle BC. It’s also recommended that you review the Portal User Guide for instructions on how to navigate the WeRecycle Portal.

As part of the registration process you will be asked to sign a Membership Agreement. Once the Membership Agreement is submitted to Recycle BC you will be contacted and provided with instructions on what you need to do next to complete your membership.

As the only approved Stewardship Plan for packaging and printed paper in British Columbia, Recycle BC is the only organization that businesses can join in order to fulfill the requirements of Schedule 5 of the BC Recycling Regulation.

Under the BC Recycling Regulation companies that supply packaging and printed paper to BC consumers are now responsible for covering the costs associated with providing residential recycling services to BC residents.  In order to cover these costs, all Recycle BC members pay fees according to the materials they supply into the BC marketplace. The fees are carefully calculated to ensure fairness for all members and to cover the costs to manage each material type through the recycling system. Click here for more information on how the fees are set.  The Recycle BC fee schedule is posted in the fourth quarter of each year.

The Recycling Regulation and the Guidebook for Stewards can help identify the materials that are obligated as part of this program.  You are encouraged to visit both those sites to understand which materials are obligated.  In general however, it includes all types of packaging and printed paper materials that are supplied to consumers that will be taken home and disposed of in the residential waste stream.

A voluntary steward is a business or organization that is not obligated to participate in the Recycle BC program because it does not have residency in BC.  But because it holds the exclusive licensing agreement for the products it sells in BC it may elect to become a voluntary steward and take responsibility for reporting and paying fees on the materials it supplies to BC consumers.  In order to become a Voluntary Steward, organizations must meet certain criteria and sign a voluntary steward agreement. Please our Voluntary Steward page to learn more.

Businesses that have residency in BC and supply packaging and printed paper materials to BC residents are required to be part of the Recycle BC program.  Companies that do not have residency in BC but ship products directly to BC residents are not obligated under the BC Recycling Regulation.

If your business does not have residency in BC then you are not required to participate in the MMBC program.  To learn more about how residency is defined please see Section 1.7 of the Guidebook for Stewards. If you do not elect to become a voluntary steward or are not eligible to be a voluntary steward, the first importer (often your retail partner) is required to report and pay fees on the materials you supply to BC consumers.

Please review Part Two of the Guidebook for Stewards for detailed information on how to prepare your steward report.  In addition, the National Steward Services team is available to help and answer any questions you have.  Steward Services can be contacted at 1-888-980-9549 or at stewards@cssalliance.ca.

If the amount of packaging that you supply to BC residents is relatively low (i.e. between 1,000 kg and 5,000 kg)  you have the option n to report as a “low volume steward” and pay a fixed rate fee; this provides a simplified reporting process that relieves your organization of the administrative burden of submitting detailed material reports. For the 2017 reporting year MMBC also introduced a flat rate fee for stewards that report between 5,000kg and 15,000kg.  More information regarding this can be found here.

The franchisor is responsible for reporting on behalf of its franchisees in BC regardless of whether the franchisor is resident in BC.  For further clarification on this please refer to the BC Recycling Regulation and the BC MOE’s Small Producer Definition.