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Determine Whether you’re an Orange Drop (MHSW) Steward

The MHSW Program ceased operations on September 30, 2021. Potential steward reporting obligations only apply to organizations that supplied products designated as Municipal Hazardous or Special Materials into the Ontario marketplace prior to September 30, 2021. For information on the Ontario program to manage household hazardous and special products which became effective on October 1, 2021 please visit the RPRA website at

The Waste-Free Ontario Act requires companies that are ”stewards” of Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) to share in funding  100 per cent of the net cost of the Ontario Orange Drop Program (MHSW). A steward is any organization or com­pany that is a resident in Ontario, and a brand owner/first importer/franchisor that supplies any of the designated Orange Drop (MHSW) materials into the Ontario market as outlined in the Rules for Stewards. The questions below will help you determine if your company is a steward.


Only companies that are resident in Ontario are obligated under the Waste Diversion Act as outlined in the Rules for Stewards. Residency in Ontario means that an organization or company has a permanent establishment in Ontario. A permanent establishment can include an office, a workshop, a factory, a warehouse or some other type of fixed place of business such as an employee’s home office.

To determine residency, please review the Rules


What is a Brand Owner?

For the purpose of the Orange Drop Program (MHSW), as outlined in the Rules, a brand owner is an organization or company that is the registered trademark holder associated with the designated Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Materials (MHSM). If the brand/trademark is unregistered, then the steward responsible becomes the organization or company that owns the intellectual property rights to the brand/trademark.

When an Ontario organization or company holds the license for the brand/trademark, then the Ontario organization or company that holds the licensing agreement is the responsible steward, provided that the holder of the brand/trademark is not resident in Ontario. If an Ontario organization or company has a licensing agreement for a brand/trademark where that brand/trademark is held by another Ontario organization or company, then the steward responsible is the actual brand/trademark holder and not the organization or company that holds the licensing agreement.

What is a First Importer?

A first importer into Ontario is the “Person” that is first to take ownership, possession or control of products into Ontario; a first importer is  the steward responsible for specific Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Materials (MHSM) if the brand owner or franchisor of the MHSM is not resident in Ontario (and therefore is not the steward of the MHSM).

What is a Franchisor?

A franchisor is:

  • An organization or company that is a registered trademark holder or licensee of a trademark/brand or
  • An organization or company that owns or is the licensee of intellectual property rights of a trademark/brand

If a franchisor is resident in Ontario, the franchisor is the responsible steward for all designated MHSM that is supplied within the relevant franchise system (regardless of whether the head office is located in Ontario).

Please refer to the Rules for Stewards for complete information: Designation of Stewards.

To help stewards determine if they are responsible as the first importer, Stewardship Ontario publishes a registered steward list on the WeRecycle Reporting Portal. If you feel that an organization or company is missing from the registered steward list please contact or learn more at The Importance of Product Stewardship.


The following two materials are obligated as Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste (MHSW) under the Rules for Stewards:

  • Pressurized containers

Please note, as of April 1, 2017, Automotive Materials Stewardship (AMS) began managing the following three materials:

  • Antifreeze, and the containers in which they are contained
  • Oil filters – after they have been used for their intended purpose
  • Containers that have a capacity of 30 litres or less and that were manufactured and used for the purpose of containing lubricating oil

The Rules for Stewards provides details of the Material Class Definitions for each of these material classes designated under the Orange Drop Program (MHSW).

If you answered yes to each of the three questions above, your company is obligated to file steward reports with Stewardship Ontario.

Back to Am I an Orange Drop (MHSW) Steward?

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