Multi-Materials BC (MMBC)
: What is it? Who is impacted? And, how is Hemlock assisting our customers?

written by Richard Kouwenhoven, President Hemlock Printers


blue_yellow_bagsDue to the many questions our team has received in recent weeks, we’ve decided to dedicate a post covering the Multi-Materials BC (MMBC) program which officially started in British Columbia last month, on May 19th, 2014.  Our goal here is to help our clients better understand the MMBC program, help them determine if they need to report, and describe actions we are taking to assist the clients to do need to report and pay into the program. This is a much longer post than usual so we’ve added links below to the 3 main questions if you are interested in a specific question over the other.

1. What is MMBC and why does it exist?
2. Which of our clients are impacted by MMBC?
3. What actions is Hemlock taking to assist our clients?
4. Links & Resources

1. What is MMBC and why does it exist?
Multi-Material British Columbia (known as MMBC) is a not-for-profit organization selected by the Government of BC to administer a province-wide residential recycling program for printed paper and packaging. The primary mandate of this program is to shift the costs of collection, sorting and recycling from local governments and tax-payers, to the businesses that are responsible for producing these materials.

The program is another example of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR),  a progressive approach to having manufacturers and other producers take responsibility for the full life-cycle of the products they produce. It is a concept that we at Hemlock endorse as it can bring a number of significant benefits – economic, social and environmental.  A successful EPR program leads to increased recovery and recycling rates through improved systems, and improved product design that reduces waste and increases recyclability.

There are successful examples of EPR programs here in our home province of BC which have been in place for a number of years – examples include tires, paint and electronics. These initiatives are a step in the right direction as companies stay involved with their products after they are purchased. Involving producers in the costs of disposing, disassembling and recycling the products they produce makes sense – it ultimately will lead to better designed products which can be more easily recycled into new products.

2. Which of our clients are impacted by MMBC?

Firstly, only businesses who have residency in British Columbia OR distribute printed products through a 3rd party from within BC are obligated to participate in the program.  Our US and out-of-province clients do not need to participate in this program, unless they are distributing printed-paper or packaging through a 3rd party that operates in BC, directly to BC households.

Based on information available on the MMBC website, we’ve listed the 3 key questions for our clients to determine if they are impacted by MMBC.

Hemlock Guide to MMBC Obligation


3. What actions is Hemlock taking to support our clients in their reporting efforts?

Hemlock is assisting clients with their MMBC reporting requirements by making the piece weight of the products we produce available both on our invoices and in a statement format.

a) Effective June 1st, 2014, included on every Canadian-customer invoice will be the corresponding piece weight (in kg) of the project.  This number can then be used to calculate the total weight distributed to households in British Columbia.

Hemlock shows pieceweight of every project for MMBC remuneration.

As of June 1st, our Canadian customer invoices include the piece weight of a particular project, displayed in kilograms.

b) Upon request, Hemlock can run a custom report for any period (from Jan 1, 2014 onward) that summarizes all projects over a specific time period, with total quantities, pounds and kilograms summarized for use in reporting weights to MMBC. See a sample of the report here: MMBC_SampleReport_2013.

4. Links and Resources
You can learn more about the program from the following websites:

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Hemlock sales representative or respond to this post! Thank you!

Step Forward Paper – Converting Waste into a Viable Printing Paper

inspecting wheat sheet

A press sheet from a project that ran last weekend for one of our Seattle-based clients, Cascade Designs who are running all of the text pages for their most recent project on the Step Forward Paper.

We are very pleased with the response to our recent launch of Step Forward Paper, a new alternative paper substrate introduced to market earlier this year.  It looks and acts much like a traditional paper but with one significant difference: the paper is made from 60% wheat straw fibre, an agricultural waste product, withwoody harrellson step forward paper the balance made from 40% FSC® certified wood fibre. This groundbreaking product has garnered plenty of attention in North American media channels, partly thanks to one of the co-founders, Woody Harrelson, who has invested and is lending his star power to promote its products.

A few important things you should know about Step Forward Paper if you are considering it for a project: Continue reading

Byrne Creek Cleanup!

Byrne Creek

Hemlock is participating in the spring clean up in association with Byrne Creek Streamkeepers and EPIC (Edmonds People in the Community)! We encourage you to bring your family and friends to participate in this fun clean up event while getting to know your neighbours and coworkers.

Registration at 9:30 am at Edmonds Skytrain Station parking lot. Map.

Clean up from 10:00 am–11:30 am.

BBQ for Participants at 11:30 am at the Gordon Presbyterian Church at 7457 Edmonds Street. Map.

For more information on the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers, visit


Thanks to all who joined us! We had a great time helping out the Byrne Creek Streamkeepers cleaning up their community waterway! Check out photos of the event here.

Case Study: Arc’teryx LITHOGRAPHICA

Arc'teryx Lithographica

A long standing client of Hemlock, Arc’teryx  designs & manufactures premium, technical outerwear, gear & climbing equipment. For this post, we wanted to feature a recent project we have produced for this adventure loving brand.

LITHOGRAPHICA started out as a quarterly eJournal produced by Arc’teryx that told stories about who they were, things they liked and ideas they found interesting.  In the beginning of 2014, Arc’teryx turned to Hemlock to turn this eJournal into a tangible product that was representative of who they were as a company.

Continue reading

Instagram Case Study

Instagram Book


One of the 50 most popular websites in the world, Facebook-owned Instagram is becoming a powerful marketing tool for businesses.  Aiming to inspire other businesses to use Instagram to share their brand story, Facebook enlisted Hemlock Printers to create a unique handbook for brands.

Hemlock used 3 different paper stocks to create this handbook – Cougar Opaque for the cover, Lynx Opaque for the pages, and a special UV Ultra II Digital paper in Radiant White for the translucent dividers.  The covers and the internal pages were printed 4 colour process throughout, with the translucent pages being printed in process black. Additionally, the outside cover was aqueous coated and an emboss was applied for added effect to the Instagram logo.

This Instagram book also used a lay-flat perfect binding which allowed this handbook to fully open despite the small 5″ x 5″ size.

Take a look inside this innovative project from Instagram by watching this video:

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us or your Hemlock sales representative.


Doug’s GLOBE Report

How sustainable is your printing graphic 550px

Following up Richard’s post from yesterday, I’d like to talk a bit more about our communication efforts at the trade fair. As part of our sponsorship participation in this year’s GLOBE conference, we were eager to share our sustainability story with the many local, regional and international attendees who spent time in the trade fair under the sails at the Vancouver Conference Centre.

A key element of our communication was a fun and informative graphic depicting our paper supply chain, a critical part of our business both in terms of the very substantial part of our total purchases it represents, as well as the potential  environmental impact it can have.

Continue reading

Richard’s Report: 2014 GLOBE Conference


Last week, Vancouver hosted over 10,000 participants at the 2014 Globe Conference. This year featured a very impressive line-up of speakers discussing solutions to the biggest issues facing our world today. How can businesses and governments adapt to the many serious environmental issues we are facing today? I heard inspiring discussions about renewable energy, sustainable product design, ‘the circular economy’ as well as innovative programs from local governments to help us truly realize the concept of environmental sustainability.

Continue reading

Get Print Ready with Hemlock

Are you new to print design or need to fine-tune your skills? Join Hemlock’s prepress experts on March 5 to learn about the most important considerations for your print projects, including:

Continue reading

What BC’s upcoming EPR legislation means to you

logoWe talked about this last year. But now the new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program is only months away from being enacted, and while there is more information available, there are also more questions.

What follows is a brief overview of the program and how it may affect our clients. You can also download all of this information in PDF form here. Whether or not you are a Hemlock client, post any questions you may have about this program in the comments and we’ll help however we can.

Continue reading

Case Study: Sweet Paul Magazine

Sweet Paul Magazine started online in 2007 as a simple way for food and craft stylist Paul Lowe Einlyng to showcase his latest work, as well as projects he found fun and interesting. Within a couple of years, the humble beginnings had grown to a large and dedicated following, addicted to the simple creativity, beautiful photography and unexpected ideas.

Sweet_Paul_CollectionSweet Paul initially came to Hemlock to partner with a high quality printer and the relationship rapidly developed into a distribution solution for their ever-growing subscriber base. Collaborating with the Sweet Paul team, Hemlock utilizes its fulfillment warehouse to prepare shipments on a weekly basis that are injected directly into the USPS domestic and international mail system.

Continue reading