written by Richard Kouwenhoven, President Hemlock Printers
Due 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?
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.
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 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.
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:
- MMBC home page for business
- MMBC fee structure
- The MMBC home page for consumers
- Canadian Stewardship Alliance
- Green by Nature ERP
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Hemlock sales representative or respond to this post! Thank you!