Controversial recycling program to take effect in May

Campbell River will receive a significantly smaller financial incentive from Multi-Material B.C. than it was originally promised

Campbell River will receive a significantly smaller financial incentive from Multi-Material B.C. than it was originally promised once the controversial recycling program kicks into gear.

The non-profit society, which will be tasked with disposing of recyclables from curbsides and businesses, had offered the city $37 per household, or 98 per cent of the city’s recycling costs which, under the new program, are to be transferred from the taxpayer and municipality to the producer.

But Coun. Claire Moglove said Tuesday that as time goes on, that figure has been dwindling.

“By the time the year came to an end, because of an error in terms of the amount per household – instead of $37 it’s now $34 – now the percentage is not 98, it’s down to maybe 89 per cent,” Moglove said. “Then another area that was not contemplated is the loss of the revenue stream for our current (recycling) contract. As a result, our contract is going up. So at the end of the day, the incentive, by my calculation, is down to 73 per cent.”

Moglove asked Multi-Material B.C. (MMBC) director Allen Langdon, who was presenting to council Tuesday night, when the city would have an opportunity to re-visit the incentive.

Langdon replied that MMBC would take a second look at the incentives in three years, once operational data is available.

Moglove acknowledged that the society and the change to recycling operations has generated unrest around the provice.

“I can see the MMBC issue has started to create quite a bit of, I guess, concern or angst among many local communities,” she said.

MMBC has come under fire from businesses that, under new provincial legislation, will be required to pay for the disposal of all printed paper and packaging that they produce.

A group of businesses expected to be hit particularly hard by the new rules have formed a group, to protest legislation that the group says will kill jobs and put some businesses under.

Peter Kvarnstrom, chair of the Canadian Newspaper Association, said the newspaper industry is being threatened with an estimated $14 million bill come May 19 when MMBC is expected to take over recycling operations from most municipalities across B.C.

Langdon said MMBC will be responsible for collecting recyclables from 1.25 million households in 88 communities.

He said that some newspapers have already signed up with MMBC but others have not. Participation in MMBC is not mandatory but if a business is not signed up with some sort of stewardship program they will be out of compliance and fined by the province.

Langdon said newspapers, if they join MMBC, will certainly have to pay, unlike in other provinces.

“In other jurisdictions, municipalities or the provincial government subsidizes the newspaper industry (but) our members aren’t prepared to subsidize the newspaper industry,” Langdon said. “Those sectors have some decisions to make on how they want to meet their regulatory responsibility.”

As for the benefits of MMBC, Langdon said residents will be able to recycle more materials at the curbside including milk cartons, aerosol cans, aluminum foil containers, hot and cold drink cups, plastic clamshell containers, and paper packaging coated with wax or plastic.

Glass and styrofoam will be accepted at recycling drop off depots, set to be listed online by MMBC closer to when the program gets underway.

Campbell River Mirror