Industry looks to harmonize recycling programs

Venture aims to deliver cost-efficient stewardship programs nationally

A new initiative by major retailers and packaged goods companies aims to harmonize packaging stewardship programs across Canada.

Attendees at Wednesday's Packaging Optimization Summit in Toronto heard about the recently-created Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance (CSSA).

The group was incorporated last September by a group of retailers that includes Loblaw, Walmart, Metro, Canada Safeway and Sobeys, along with consumer packaged goods companies Kraft, Unilever, P&G, Coca-Cola and Maple Leaf Foods.

"Our business is managing recycling programs," said John Coyne, Unilever’s vice-president, legal and external affairs and general counsel.

Another purpose of the corporation, said Coyne, is to assist in the development and support of environmentally sustainable producer responsibility programs in Canada.

Right now, Coyne said, CPG and retail companies pay for the costs of several stand-alone provincial stewardship agencies, all with different reporting methodologies and systems. The result has been a lack of co-ordination and sharing of  best practices.

One of the key purposes of the new group is to deliver a shared administrative and customer service business infrastructure to producers and stewards of extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs and provincial producer responsibility organizations in Canada.

Over the next six to 12 months, the corporation is looking to build out an infrastructure (SAP) system, and ensure service capabilities are in place via a provincial and national call centre, said Coyne.

Other groups involved in developing a harmonized recycling program include Retail Council of Canada and Food and Consumer Products of Canada, as well as the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.

Clarification: An earlier version of this article suggested only three major retailers and three manufacturers were involved in the CSSA.

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