This year marks the 25th anniversary of Product Care Recycling, and we’ve come a long way from our first paint recycling program in British Columbia. Product Care now operates in nine provinces across the country, providing recycling solutions for paint, household hazardous waste, lighting products, and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. We also provide management services for recycling programs for small appliances, power tools, outdoor power equipment and mattresses.
As a member-funded product stewardship organization, we help our members meet their regulatory obligations while protecting the environment. Our services have expanded since 1994, but our mission to divert waste from Canadian landfills and protect our waterways remains at the core of everything we do. Join us as we celebrate this milestone and look ahead to the future.
It all began with paint recycling
In 1994, British Columbia became the first province to implement an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulation for architectural (household) paint. This waste management regulation required paint producers to create a network of drop-off locations for people to bring their leftover paint. Once collected, the paint was then recycled. The industry soon realised a collective approach was the best solution, and not-for-profit organization “BC PaintCare” (now Product Care) was born.
Diversifying our programs: from paint recycling to other products
Over the past 25 years, Product Care has recycled more than 82 million litres of paint, and has grown far beyond the BC Paint program. Three years after we began recycling household paint—in response to expanded stewardship regulations—we expanded our range of products in B.C. to include pesticides, flammable liquids, gasoline, and aerosol paint. Soon, other provinces started noticing the industry’s ability to implement these recycling programs, resulting in an eruption of EPR regulations across Canada.
Product Care Recycling was the first EPR program to operate in multiple provinces while expanding the “special waste” product categories being managed, resulting in efficiencies for its programs and industry members. This journey is summarized in the timeline below:
“As the recycling landscape evolves, Product Care remains committed to protecting the environment while meeting the needs of Canadians. Celebrating 25 years of service is a major milestone, and we are excited to see what Product Care will achieve over the next 25 years with support and collaboration from consumers, regulators, our industry members, and our service partners,” says Mark Kurschner, President, Product Care Recycling.
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Connecting people with recycling locations
These achievements would not be possible without a continuously expanding collection network. Through partnerships with participating municipal governments, retailers, bottle depots and recycling centres, Product Care is able to offer free drop-off at more than 2,500 recycling locations across Canada.
Inspiring change in our community
In addition to providing recycling services, we’re always searching for new ways to inspire individuals to reduce their waste, recycle as much as possible, and reduce their environmental footprint. Engaging with people at events, through our blog, and on social media allows us to connect our audience with our programs. Some of our favourite BC-based community projects include:
- Circulating good-quality paint back into the community for reuse via our PaintShare program
- Collaborating to create an upcycled art exhibition at Telus Science World
- Inspiring positive change in schools and through our involvement with BC Green Games
Changing for the better
To create a more consumer-friendly experience, in 2019 we began operating all our programs under one consolidated brand – Product Care Recycling. At the same time we launched our new, simplified website, where visitors can find recycling locations, access stewardship plans, and view annual reports with ease.
Our environment, and the regulations that govern us are changing rapidly. This demands continuous improvement to the efficiency and efficacy of our programs. Throughout these changing times, we remain committed to our mission of caring for the environment, our consumers and our employees.
We’d like to thank all of our employees, board members, industry members and service providers who, over the past 25 years (!) have enabled us to achieve our goals year after year. Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who has participated in our programs by dropping products off for recycling. Our achievements over the last 25 years would not be possible without you.
Do you have something to drop off for recycling? Find a recycling location near you.