Recycle BC is eyeing amendments to its stewardship plan – changes that could have serious implications for recycling in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
One positive aspect is that Recycle BC has added “other flexible plastic packaging” to the items that may be deposited at recycle depots but not in curbside pick-up programs.
However, Environmental Health Services Team Leader Ben Van Nostrand says the proposed changes will mean that taxpayers will be on the hook for new curbside recycling collection programs in rural areas or communities with fewer than 5,000 residents.
Any community that does not meet Recycling B.C.’s proposed criteria will not be eligible for funding from the organization unless – a curbside recycling collection program was in place by May 2014; the community represents an incorporated municipality, or the community has a minimum population of 5,000 residents.”
Within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, it means that for Sorrento and Blind Bay where a curbside pick-up program is in the planning stages, or Sicamous, who opted out of the program when it was first implemented in 2013, will not be eligible for funding.
Curbside pick-up will be available in those communities only if taxpayers fund the program.
Another beef Van Nostrand shares with the Thompson Nicola Regional District is the division of recycling into residential and commercial categories.
At this time, Recycle BC absorbs the cost of recycling residential material collected at the depots, something that saves the CSRD abut $800,000 a year, Van Nostrand says.
“Why not just include all recyclable materials in the program? Whether a resident or a business, paper is paper and cardboard is cardboard,” he says, noting that having to pay to recycle these items is a deterrent to businesses, thereby sending more stuff to the landfill. “It would be far simpler for businesses to have access to the regional district’s recycling depot program rather than having to have a separate way of getting rid of the recycling.”
At the June 21 CSRD board meeting, directors unanimously supported a resolution to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, hoping to have it approved for inclusion at the annual convention in the fall.
The resolution asks the Province of BC “to immediately act to improve legislation in order to hold the stewardship agencies accountable for the total cost associated with the delivery of the depot program and, specifically, the minister of environment address the proposed changes in the plan and acknowledge the tax-funded subsidies in the plan to ensure that all British Columbians have access to Recycle BC services through a fully funded producer responsibility stewardship model.”