You may have heard of a little-known system called extended producer responsibility (EPR) which is arguably one of the most trending topics amongst waste management professionals in Canada, the U.S and Europe. Without delving into either side of the debate, EPR regulations hold companies, who put eligible consumer packaged goods into the market, financially responsible for the costs related to recycling.

To do this, each year stewards are required to submit a report to their respective stewardship agency calculating the total products sold in the marketplace by material type, category, weight, sales and associated fees based on a complicated set of calculations that only a handful of people understand.

For the “lucky” few who are responsible for developing their company’s annual stewardship report, it can be a cringe-worthy time; a feeling similar to doing your taxes every year. Here are three ways to approach stewardship reporting, ranking from difficult to easy:

1)    Create your own tools to develop your annual reports

2)    Use an online calculator designed for stewardship reporting

3)    Hire a stewardship reporting service

Tools developed in-house are more specific to your company’s operations but often lack the required updates to reflect changes in product and packaging types as well as any regulatory changes. This can not only put you at risk for not meeting your regulatory obligations, but it can also lead to over/under reporting which is a major compliance risk.

Online calculators are easy to use but are fundamentally flawed as they tend to produce high estimations resulting in skewed reports and higher stewardship fees.

Based on industry research, some companies could be paying up to 20% more than required. Overpaying is often related to misunderstanding eligibility criteria, calculating errors, and over-estimating.

Stewardship Reporting Services are similar to hiring an accountant to do your taxes.  It can be cost, time and resource effective; allowing you to focus on your core business.  Since the EPR model is still in its infancy, the rules, policies and methodologies are continually changing which effectively, has an impact on your reporting obligations.  Service providers have an in depth understanding of the stewardship reporting intricacies and a vast network that keeps them up to date, thus eliminating reporting errors.  This reduces the risk of non-compliance, potential fines and audits and in many cases, money.

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Kelsey has more than 8 years’ experience in business development within the energy, environment and sustainability sectors and specializes in stewardship reporting.

For more information regarding any of these options, please contact me: