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Extended Producer Responsibility

Kawartha Lakes changing to new provincial recycling program

A regulation from the Province of Ontario is bringing changes to the way municipalities provide recycling programs to their residents. The new program creates a common program across the province and makes producers of products and packaging responsible for recycling the materials they supply. This new approach is called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

By making the producer responsible, the new program supports a circular economy, reducing operational and financial responsibilities for municipalities. 

The City of Kawartha Lakes will be transitioning to the Extended Producer Responsibility program starting on April 1, 2024.

Check out Circular Materials, the administrator of Ontario’s common collection system, website to learn more about the transition. 

Watch this quick video to learn more about the how the new EPR program will work:

A transcript for the video is available here
Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, is a policy approach in which producers – the businesses that supply packaging and paper to residents – are responsible for the end-of-life management of their materials.

That means contributing financially to, and in some cases, operating the recycling system.

EPR starts with environmental legislation, obligating producers to take responsibility for their materials straight through to end of life. Recovery and recycling targets are set and reporting requirements are defined.
This helps shift material from the waste stream into the recycling system.

To fulfill these legal obligations, many producers join a Producer Responsibility Organization, or P-R-O, who administer an EPR program on their behalf.

Producers pay fees to a P-R-O and the P-R-O uses the fee revenue to support the collection, sorting and recycling of material.

In some EPR models, a single jurisdiction is managed as a whole – with a consistent material list and an integrated material management supply chain. This creates greater scale and efficiency.

Residents are informed what is accepted and how to recycle it through promotion and education.

Material is then collected from residents’ homes or depots in partnership with local governments or private waste management companies.

Material is then brought to a material recovery facility, to be weighed…sorted… and baled by specific material type, such as the kind of paper or plastic resin.

Because of the potential scale of the system, EPR can facilitate investment in infrastructure and advanced sorting technologies, resulting in better quality materials and more of the material ultimately being recycled.

The goal is to create a circular economy for material by selling it to verified end markets to be made into new products.

Throughout this process, the amount and type of material is tracked, weighed and recorded so performance requirements are fulfilled and results can be verified and improved.

In the end, the P-R-O ensures that producers meet their regulatory obligations, and verify their performance targets.

The material enters back into the market, contributing to a circular economy.

Expected benefits of the new system

Transitioning to the new EPR system may:

  • Encourage producers to reduce and/or innovate their packaging to decrease the cost of collecting and processing them
  • Standardize the recycling service across Ontario

What changes for me?

We're still working through the details of the program with Circular Materials. We aren't anticipating any drastic changes from the way that you currently recycle.

Recycling pick-up times may change from what your used to, but there shouldn't be any issues if you continue to get your recycling to the curb by no later than 7am on your pick-up day. 

Any changes will be communicated on this webpage, as well as through our Newsroom, and social media platforms.

Follow along with the transition

If you'd like to stay as up-to-date as possible on the transition to the new EPR program, subscribe to our newsroom here and don’t forget to connect with us on X, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn for all your latest municipal news.

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