1.9 What is packaging and printed paper?

The governments of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have all passed enabling legislation followed by regulations which include definitions of packaging and printed paper. Further to these acts and regulations, program plans were presented for approval to provincial Ministries of Environments (MOEs). It is in these program plans that stewards can find the definitions of packaging and printed paper that Recycle BC, MMSW, MMSM, and Stewardship Ontario use to operate their respective recycling programs and that stewards will need to understand in order to report to these programs accurately.

The following table presents the packaging and printed paper definitions for Recycle BC, MMSW, MMSM and Stewardship Ontario which appear in their respective stewardship plans or in the recently updated BC Recycling Regulation. Please note that Part Three of this guidebook provides a complete list of all the material reporting categories for each program.

Recognizing that there are slight differences in the definitions amongst provinces, for the purposes of harmonization across programs, sections 1.9.1 and 1.9.3 below provide the definitions of obligated materials which are used across all provinces.


Packaging Definition for purposes of producer obligation and reporting under the PPP stewardship plans includes: Printed Paper Definition for purposes of producer obligation and reporting under the PPP stewardship plans includes:
Recycle BC Primary packaging, i.e., packaging that contains the product at the point of sale to the residential consumer;

Grouped packaging or secondary packaging that goes to the household;

Transportation, distribution or tertiary packaging that goes to the household;

Service packaging designed and intended to be filled at the point of sale and “disposable” items sold, filled or designed and intended to be filled at the point of sale;

Packaging components and ancillary elements integrated into packaging, including ancillary elements directly hung or attached to a product and which perform a packaging function unless they are an integral part of the product and all elements are intended to be consumed or disposed of together.

This definition has been condensed. For full definition of included packaging materials please refer to the Recycle BC Program Plan.

Paper of any description including flyers, brochures, booklets, catalogues, telephone directories, newspapers, magazines, paper fibre and paper used for copying, writing or any other general use.

Paper does not include paper products that by virtue of their anticipated use could become unsafe or unsanitary to recycle or any type of bound books such as text books, reference books or literary books.

This definition has been condensed. For full definition of obligated paper materials  please  refer to the. BC Recycling Regulation

MMSW Primary packaging, i.e., packaging that contains the product at the point of sale to the residential consumer;

Grouped packaging or secondary packaging that goes to the household;

Transportation, distribution or tertiary packaging that goes to the household;

Service packaging designed and intended to be filled at the point of sale and “disposable” items sold, filled or designed and intended to be filled at the point of sale;

Packaging components and ancillary elements integrated into packaging, including ancillary elements directly hung or attached to a product and which perform a packaging function unless they are an integral part of the product and all elements are intended to be consumed or disposed of together.

This definition has been condensed. For full definition of included packaging materials please refer to the MMSW Program Plan.

Paper of any description including flyers, brochures, booklets, catalogues, telephone directories, newspapers, magazines, paper fibre and paper used for copying, writing or any other general use.

Excluded are paper products that, by virtue of their anticipated use, could become unsafe or unsanitary to recycle or any type of bound book not mentioned in clause.

Paper comprises any type of cellulosic fibre source including but not limited to wood, wheat, rice, cotton, bananas, eucalyptus, bamboo, hemp, and sugar cane (bagasse) fibre sources.

This definition has been condensed. For the full definition of included paper please see the MMSW Program Plan.

MMSM Designated materials for the MMSM program include:

Gable top containers;

Aseptic containers;

Paper laminates;

Corrugated cardboard;

Paper packaging;

Boxboard and other paper packaging;

PET bottles;

HDPE bottles and jugs;

Polystyrene;

Other rigid plastic;

LDPE/HDPE film;

LDPE/HDPE film carry-out bags;

Plastic laminates;

Biodegradable plastic film;

Aerosol containers;

Paint cans;

Other steel and metal containers;

Aluminum;

Foil and other aluminum packaging;

Clear (flint) glass packaging;

Coloured glass packaging;

This definition has been condensed. For full definition of included packaging please refer to the MMSM Program Plan.

Designated printed paper for the MMSM program includes: Newsprint; Magazines and catalogues; Directories and other printed materials; This definition has been condensed. For the full definition of printed paper please refer to the MMSM Program Plan.
SO Packaging for the purposes of the Blue Box Program Plan consists of:

Sales packaging or primary packaging;

Grouped packaging or secondary packaging that goes to the household;

Transportation, distribution or tertiary packaging that is conceived to be distributed to household consumers;

Service or in-store packaging;

Packaging components and ancillary elements integrated into packaging shall be considered as part of the packaging onto which they are integrated. Ancillary elements directly hung or attached to a product and which perform a packaging function shall be considered packaging unless they are an integral part of this product and all elements are intended to be consumed or disposed of together;

Items shall be considered packaging if they fulfil the definition above without prejudice to other functions which the packaging might also perform, unless the item is an integral part of a product and all elements are intended to be consumed or disposed of together.

This definition has been condensed. For the full definition of included packaging materials please see subsection 2.1.1 of Stewardship Ontario’s Blue Box Program Plan.

Printed paper includes, but is not limited to:

Daily, weekly, newspapers;

Daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly glossy magazines;

Product catalogues including those paid through subscription;

Directories including those paid through subscription;

Lottery tickets and lottery information;

Warranty information, assembly instructions, product use instructions and health information, product registration cards and promotional information that is found inside purchased products;

Envelopes, statements and information inserts from banks, credit companies, utilities, service providers;

Information, forms and promotional materials distributed by municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments;

Business, investment and securities information (i.e., annual reports, mutual fund prospectus);

Promotional calendars, posters that are distributed to consumers free of charge (i.e., real estate calendars);

Unsolicited promotional information, coupons, handbills and flyers; and transportation and transit schedules.

This definition has been condensed. For the full definition of included printed papers please see subsection 2.1.2 of Stewardship Ontario’s Blue Box Program Plan.