Packaging and printed paper recycling is changing in British Columbia.
Under the BC Recycling Regulation, producers that introduce packaging or printed paper into the B.C. residential marketplace were required to submit a stewardship plan, or be part of a plan submitted on their behalf, by November 19, 2012 to take effect on May 19, 2014.
To this end, a not- for – profit stewardship group called Multi-Material BC (MMBC) has been created to manage the transition of collection of products through local government’s curbside programs.
The Regional District Okanagan Similkameen recently sent a letter to the Village of Keremeos advising the community of upcoming changes to existing recycling programs.
MMBC’s proposal involves collecting an eco – levy on products with packaging or printed paper sold in BC. The levy would be so small that the amount would not show up on the bill, and would be expected to pay for the collection and recycling of the manufacturer’s paper materials from homes.
“The RDOS currently picks up paper waste,” explained RDOS Solid Waste Coordinator Cameron Baughen. “It is anticipated that MMBC will be working with the RDOS for pick up of paper waste.” MMBC would pay their share of costs for curbside pickup of paper waste.
Baughen said that program is meant to be non disruptive to existing curbside programs, and hopefully will be an expansion of current services.
Under the new proposal, soft and hard cover books would no longer be recyclable, but other items might be included, such as single serve paper cups, and non-refundable tetra packs. Drop off programs are also envisioned for styrofoam, glass and other products.
The regional district, in its letter to Keremeos, advised council and staff to familiarize themselves with the proposed program by the second quarter of 2013. The RDOS explained further that the stewardship group (MMBC) is obliged to approach every local government currently managing printed paper and packaging in the second quarter of 2013. MMBC will offer a sum of money tied to “market-clearing price financial incentives,” with local government given a short time to respond. If a local government responds that they do not want to be responsible for curbside collection of recycling, MMBC will be obliged to go to tender in the third quarter of 2013 and take responsibility for collection.
“We hope that the final result of this change is that we will save money, but at this point we cannot say that for certain,” Baughen said, adding that residents probably won’t see any changes to their current curbside practices, since most of what goes into recycling blue bags would be destined for this program anyway.
This type of program was implemented in Germany, with the result that the amount of overall packaging has been reduced,” Baughen said.
Baughen also noted that work towards an organics and kitchen food waste collection program in the RDOS was continuing and could be ready for implementation around the same time as the MMBC program kicked in.
The changes to the recycling program stem from a desire on the part of the province to transfer responsibility for end-of-life management of packaging and printed paper (PPP) from governments and their taxpayers to industry and their consumers .
The regional district board of directors are slated to discuss the upcoming changes at the December 20 regional district board meeting.