Extended Producer Responsibility
The RCA believes Extended Producer Responsibility is key to advancing a circular economy.
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is an environmental/economic policy approach in which producers of products and packaging bear responsibility for ensuring those products and packages are properly managed at the end of their life cycle (OWMA, 2013).
EPR regulations went into effect in Alberta on November 30, 2022. The RCA is also extremely proud and honoured to have played a key role in helping EPR become a reality by working with various stakeholders and government officials to carve out the new regulations.
One of the aims of EPR is to give producers an incentive to change product design for reuse as well as make it easier to recycle packaging and shift the responsibility to product manufacturers to recycle their own packaging and divert it from landfills.
Oversight of Alberta’s new EPR systems will be conducted by the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA). Registration for Communities launched on October 2nd, 2023. They will have until December 31, 2023 to complete Phase I of registration. For more detailed information and a comprehensive timeline of EPR’s rollout in Alberta, visit ARMA’s EPR oversight webpage.
Alberta will have two EPR systems: single-use products, packaging and printed paper (PPP), and hazardous and special products (HSP).
PPP include all packaging and paper materials designated by provincial regulation. This may include both PPP generated by the residential and the business sectors (e.g., primary packaging, transport packaging, printed and non-printed paper). The current list of designated materials varies nationally; producers recommend working towards a harmonized national list of materials. Some jurisdictions have or are considering expanding this category to include packaging-like products (e.g., tin pie plates that may be sold as a package or a product) and single-use products (e.g., disposable cutlery), which often end up in the recycling stream.
HSP – Currently, the Government of Alberta and Alberta municipalities jointly fund management of household hazardous wastes. Alberta’s EPR system for HSP will replace Alberta’s existing household hazardous waste program and expand upon the materials accepted.
HSP products include:
- consumer-sized solid, liquid, and gaseous products that are flammable, corrosive, and toxic
The system does not include HSP products sold in industrial sizes. HSP materials regulated under existing regulated stewardship programs (beverage containers, tires, paint, electronics and used oil materials) are not included in EPR HSP to avoid duplicating requirements.
Packaging and paper products (PPP) include all packaging and paper materials designated by provincial regulation as PPP. This may include both PPP generated by the residential and the business sectors (e.g., primary packaging, transport packaging, printed and non-printed paper). The current list of designated materials varies nationally; producers recommend working towards a harmonized national list of materials. Some jurisdictions have or are considering expanding this category to include packaging-like products (e.g., tin pie plates that may be sold as a package or a product) and single-use products (e.g., disposable cutlery), which often end up in the recycling stream.
RCA EPR Resources
- Follow this link for EPR Frequently Asked Questions.
- EPR Resources from the 2022 – 2023 RCA Conference EPR Workshop:
- RCA EPR Corner Articles – Monthly features on Alberta’s transition to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). We feature FAQs we have received and key information about what is happening during the transition to EPR.
- Visit the event page for upcoming presentations and summaries from past EPR webinars or tune into our podcast for presentations from industry experts.
A number of recent reports have contributed to the advancement and awareness of EPR in Alberta.
- The Alberta Collaborative Extended Producer Responsibility (ACES) Group has produced an EPR backgrounder. Complete with an overview of: what EPR is; how it will support Alberta’s Natural Gas Vision and Strategy for a circular economy for plastics; environmental and economic outcomes for municipalities, the recycling sector, small businesses and consumers!
- In December 2020 representatives from the ACES Group presented on EPR to the UCP Caucus. Their presentation on EPR and what it could mean for Alberta is available here.
- Usman Valiante, a senior policy analyst with Cardwell Grove Inc., has provided this response letter addressing statements, comments and recommendations in a review of the Environmental Law Center (Alberta) Society’s report released earlier in 2020 titled Extended Producer Responsibility: Designing the Regulatory Framework. Usman also provides policy design considerations for Alberta’s advancement of EPR for PPP.
- The Extended Producer Responsibility for Residential Packaging and Paper Products: Alberta Collaborative Extended Producer Responsibility Study released in March 2020 shows a compelling vision for extended producer responsibility (EPR) for residential packaging and paper products (PPP) with a made-in-Alberta solution. The Recycling Council of Alberta participated with ACES, including municipal and producer representatives, to provide guidance and oversight on the report. For the full announcement visit: https://auma.ca/news/news-release-new-study-makes-strong-case-packaging-and-paper-extended-producer-responsibility-alberta. For the full report visit: https://recycle.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ACES-Summary-Report-Final-For-release-March-10-2020.pdf
 OWMA, 2013. Extended Producer Responsibility Policy Paper. Available at: https://www.owma.org/articles/extended-producer-responsibility-policy-paper Retrieved August 18, 2020.