Embracing a circular economy in New Brunswick
Last month, we talked a bit about the new Extended Producer Responsibility program for packaging and printed paper, which will be launched in New Brunswick within the next couple of years. This is exciting on many levels, which we will talk about in more detail at a later date, but mainly it means that many New Brunswickers will be able to recycle plastic bags and glass jars again.
“Glass is one of the more expensive materials to recycle, and it’s something we are asked a lot about here at Recycle NB,” said CEO Frank LeBlanc. “Under a PPP program, we will be able to recycle glass, but also products such as plastic sandwich bags, disposable cups, plates and bowls, plastic wrap and wrapping paper.”
For this month, however, we wanted to talk more about Extended Producer Responsibility. Just what is it anyway?
“Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of its life cycle, requiring the producer to fund and operate programs that manage their products at the post-consumer stage,” said Mike Cormier, Director, Waste Diversion Branch at the Department of Environment and Local Government. “EPR programs are considered the best practice for waste diversion by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME). The Department has established regulatory support (Designated Materials Regulation) to establish and use EPR programs as our primary diversion-based Solid Waste Management approach.”
Recycle NB currently oversees three EPR programs in the province – one for oil/glycol, one for paint and one for electronics. We also manage the tire recycling program for the province, which is funded through environmental handling fees included in the price of tires.
Over the years, through these EPR programs as well as the tire program, Recycle NB has diverted thousands of kilograms of waste from our landfills:
· 23 million tires since 1997
· 25,000 tub skids of paint since 2009
· 23.5 million litres of oil and 815,000 litres of glycol since 2014
· 3.7 million kilograms of electronics since 2017
We think this is pretty impressive, and proof positive that EPR programs work. It also means we are slowly embracing a circular economy here in New Brunswick, which aims to continually use resources in an effort to eliminate waste.
Stay tuned for more details about the PPP program in the coming months. In the meantime, happy recycling!