Multi-Material BC and Local Governments: Will the New Industry-run Recycling System Cause Backsliding?

Local governments have led the way on recycling in BC, and most support the principles of expanded recycling, zero waste, reduced packaging and producers bearing responsibility for the full life-cycle of their products. However, many are clearly concerned about the structure and implementation of BC’s new recycling system, and whether it will effectively move towards these goals and respect the experience and investments of municipalities and offer them a fair deal.

Limited consultation, coupled with a problematic pricing structure and seemingly one-sided terms and conditions, has left many local governments concerned about their ability to participate in the new system and maintain historic levels of service, much less expand and improve recycling. Municipalities and other observers have also pointed to a lack of clarity about targets and how they will be met, along with concerns that MMBC is out of sync with the Recycling Regulation’s stated objectives of applying economic pressure on the producers to encourage better recovery rates and lower volumes of printed paper and packaging.

These concerns have been compounded by the short timeframe municipalities have been given to evaluate and accept or reject MMBC’s offers. A number of municipalities and municipal bodies are calling on the Province to intervene and institute a process that is collaborative with local governments. The result could be more effective recycling for BC residents, without imposing new costs and risks.