With the widespread adoption of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as the dominant waste management model across Canada, the need to manage large and complex supply chains and multiple stakeholders is bringing new types of challenges to the waste diversion sector.

The “science” of EPR entails the ability to apply specialized techniques and tools to the design and implementation of programs that are optimized for the achievement of waste management goals and for accurate and efficient compliance reporting. This will require effective systems for fee determination and collection materials tracking, management information and reporting and financial management, as well as the application of specialist expertise in procurement, contract management, risk analysis and a range of other skills that may have been obtained through formal education and training.

Equally important, is the need for “art” or people-related skills that derive more from personal attributes and experiential learning than from formal training. These include, for example, strong leadership and excellent communication skills, as well as the sort of intangible factors that might be defined in such terms as people acumen and political acumen.