Advancing a circular economy for packaging and paper products

Bales of plastics ready to be recycled.

Written by: Circular Materials

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A circular economy ensures that materials are kept out of our environment and in the economy to be continuously used again and again. Circular Materials is at the forefront of this transformation. Committed to building effective and efficient packaging and paper recycling systems, Circular Materials is advancing the circular economy by ensuring materials are collected, recycled, and returned to producers for use as recycled content in new products and packaging. This integrated approach ensures that materials find a new life and resources are optimized, benefiting both people and the planet.

One of the fundamental ways to advance the circular economy is through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policies. EPR is a framework in which producers – the businesses that supply packaging and paper to residents – are financially responsible and accountable for those materials over their full life cycle. EPR is founded on the principles below and designed to improve recycling rates and encourage more efficient use of materials.

Principles of EPR

Standardized lists

A standardized list of collected materials for recycling in the province (and across the country if possible) achieves economies of scale and program efficiencies, while providing clarity for residents.

Producer autonomy

Producers must have the autonomy to design a recycling system that respects local conditions (such as geography, population densities, etc.) while maximizing efficiency and optimizing environmental performance.

Regulatory fairness

Regulations must be designed for fairness. All obligated producers need to participate and regulators must be prepared to take appropriate enforcement action to support compliance with the regulation.

Material value

Materials must pay their own way in the recycling system. Higher-value materials should not cross-subsidize lower-value materials.


Producer responsibility program operators and service providers are held accountable, meaning that operators, collectors, transporters, recyclers and processors of end-of-life products/materials are auditable and accountable for their performance.


Appropriate standards are established so that collectors, transporters, recyclers and processors can demonstrate their compliance with international, federal and provincial laws and industry standards where applicable.

Continuous improvement

A commitment to continuous improvement and fostering responsible recycling helps achieve higher recycling rates over time.

EPR is fundamental to advancing the circular economy for packaging and paper. It’s a system that ensures materials are responsibly managed through their full life cycle and able to be reused as recycled content in new packaging and products.

Circular Materials is proud to be advancing Canada’s recycling systems and the way materials are managed so they can be continuously transformed into new resources. We are proud partners of Circular Economy Month, helping educate Canadians about the opportunities and benefits of a circular economy.

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