The Four-Step Fee Methodology was approved in 2016 by the program boards of Recycle BC, MMSW and MMSM following extensive steward consultation. It replaced the Three-Factor Formula, which is currently used by Stewardship Ontario.

Fee methodologies are an allocation tool used to determine each material’s share of the total amount stewards must pay to finance recycling programs for packaging and paper product. Each year, material fee rates (expressed in cents per kilogram) are determined by dividing the allocated dollar amount for a material by the number of supplied tonnes of that material.

Here’s how the Four-Step Fee Methodology works:

Step 1 allocates the Gross Cost of the recycling system – the collection & processing activities.

Step 2 allocates the commodity revenue to those materials that have earned the revenue.

Step 3 allocates the program management cost of the stewardship program.

Step 4 will add material specific Promotion & Education and/or Market Development.

Concerns about the complexity and fairness of the Three-Factor Formula led to the creation of a Steward Consultation Committee (SCC), which included brand owners, first importers, retailers and other representatives that are suppliers in each material category. The SCC established the following guiding principles for a new fee methodology:

  • All obligated materials should bear a fair share of the costs to manage the packaging and printed paper program, irrespective of whether a material is collected, because all obligated stewards who put obligated materials into the marketplace should contribute to the recycling system.
  • The material management costs allocated to each material should reflect the material’s impact on the cost to collect and manage it in the recycling system because a material’s unique characteristics can drive costs in distinctive ways.
  • The commodity revenue should be attributed only to the materials that earn that revenue because materials that are marketed have value and should benefit from their earned revenue.

Background and consultation materials for the Four-Step Fee Methodology are available here.

The methodology continues to be refined through the Material Cost Differentiation Project.