YOU ARE HERE : Home / City Issues / Current Issues / Waste Management / In the News / Mar 17,2014 Vancouver Sun 
Mar 17,2014 Vancouver Sun



Residents in Terrace, Smithers, 100 Mile House, 108 Mile House, Kaslo, and Nakusp will have their recyclables collected at the curb beginning May 19 under the Multi-material BC program

Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann , Vancouver Sun

Multi-material BC announced on March 17 that curbside recycling will begin in two of North and Central B.C.’s most populous communities, Prince George and Quesnel.

Curbside collection is possible for the first time through our packaging and printed paper stewardship program, set to be launched on May 19.

These are not the only communities to benefit from the program: Residents in Terrace, Smithers, 100 Mile House, 108 Mile House, Kaslo, and Nakusp will all, for the first time, have their recyclables collected at the curb.

Adding these communities is a significant milestone in our goal of increasing access to curbside recycling across the province.

It is also evidence of MMBC taking solid first steps toward achieving our government-mandated 75-per-cent recovery rate for packaging and printed paper, a significant increase over the current 50- to 53-per-cent provincewide rate. Additionally, the MMBC program will enable many residents to recycle new categories of packaging that are not commonly included in current curbside or depot recycling programs, including milk cartons, plastic foam packaging, plant pots, aluminum foil packaging, certain types of plastic film packaging, and drink cups.

Access to these new services is made possible because industry — through MMBC — is assuming responsibility for and financing a recycling program that will save taxpayers about $85 million per year. Many local governments will continue to play a role in recycling, even though MMBC’s members are assuming costs and responsibility for the system.

MMBC is part of the evolution of provincial recycling. The B.C. government passed in May, 2011, a regulation that requires all businesses that supply packaging and printed paper to residential consumers to assume responsibility for collecting and recycling those materials once consumers are finished with them. MMBC spent two years consulting with stakeholders, including businesses and local governments, to develop its stewardship plan. The plan was approved by the B.C. government in April, 2013, and MMBC’s packaging and printed paper recycling program will begin operations in May.

MMBC is among more than 20 extended producer responsibility programs introduced in British Columbia over the past two decades, which has resulted in industry assuming responsibility for end-of-life management of items such as beverage containers, electronics, paint, used oil, tires and batteries. The intention of EPR is to encourage producers to make and sell products that are more durable, more environmentally sustainable, and ideally never become waste at the conclusion of their use.

B.C.’s recycling regulation shifts responsibility for managing residential recycling of packaging and printed paper from taxpayers to the businesses, such as retailers and manufacturers, which produce it. Rather than businesses individually assuming the costs and complexities of creating a system of collection and recycling, MMBC was formed to act on behalf of its members to share costs and capture the economies of scale necessary to operate an efficient program.

It is important to note that businesses are not obligated to join MMBC. Instead, they are obligated to comply with the recycling regulations. How they comply is their choice, and businesses that choose not to join MMBC can develop their stewardship plan.

Impact on small businesses is expected to be limited. The total number of B.C. businesses that are expected to register with MMBC is 2,000-3,000, a fraction of the about 385,000 businesses in B.C. This is in large part because most small businesses in the province do not supply packaging and printed paper to residents, and therefore are not affected by the recycling regulations. In addition, the B.C. Ministry of Environment recently announced its intention to exempt very small local businesses.

For MMBC’s program to be successful, and to reach our environmental goals, manufacturers, retailers and governments are working together to divert packaging and printed paper from landfills and build an effective and efficient recycling system.

Allen Langdon is managing director of Multi-Material British Columbia.

Print View   Site Map   Login