The extra time given to B.C. cities to decide how they’ll participate in the new product packing and printed paper recycling program is much appreciated in the Fraser Valley, said FVRD Chair Sharon Gaetz.
“We’re pleased they have extended the deadline, but there are still a number of outstanding issues and concerns that need to be addressed,” Gaetz said.
The provincial program from Multi Material BC is geared to making retailers, goods producers and newspapers that generate waste packaging and printed paper ultimately responsible for the collection and recycling of it.
There are still a range of sticking points for local governments, such as impacts to air quality in the Fraser Valley, which is always a concern, Gaetz said.
“MMBC would gain complete control of where the collected materials go after collection, leaving our municipalities with no say whatsoever,” she said. “If they decide to bring the collected recyclables to an incinerator for example, that would be totally unacceptable.”
People are also accustomed to discarding glass along with recyclables.
“They removed that option so it’s a step backward for service levels in our region.”
Multi Material BC is under fire from civic leaders who are protesting what they call unreasonable terms for their cities to act as curbside recycling collectors when the new system launches next spring.
Much criticism centred having cities either commit to a contract to be a collector for MMBC, let the agency contract out blue box pickup to other collectors or else keep running recycling services without compensation from MMBC.
The initial deadline of Sept. 16 was only for cities seeking to become contractors when the rollout takes place in May of 2014, MMBC officials have clarified. Other cities can join later.
Gaetz said the prices being offered right now are “too low” to cover costs of service, and the risk for collectors is a concern with penalties being considered for loads with more than three per cent contamination of non-recyclable material.
But it’s also about the process.
“We think it’s been a rather one-sided negotiations,” said Gaetz. “MMBC has failed to show us substantive willingness to negotiate parts of the plan and address our concerns once it started to develop the program.”
Cities deserve to be part of a meaningful process.
“So we say thanks for the extension, but unless they’re willing to negotiate, it’s meaningless.”
–with files from Jeff Nagel