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EDITORIAL: Recycle plan
How kind that the industry group Multi-Material British Columbia (MMBC) is willing to give municipalities a few extra days to consider its proposal for picking up our cans, bottles and papers on their behalf.
While the idea of the producers paying for recycling packaging and printed paper makes sense, the way this program appears to have been handled is shocking, to say the least.
Among the many problems that Tri-City mayors have identified are a take-it-or-leave it policy on accepting the terms; lower than practical contamination rates that could cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars; and low-balled fees for collecting the stuff via existing blue boxes and cart pick-up programs.
Many cities were left scratching their heads when the producers group set a Sept. 16 deadline for accepting its terms (that date is now open ended for those needing time to consider), and offering a program that was less flexible than the existing, more or less successful, system.
Here’s how it was supposed to work: MMBC would pay cities to collect the recyclables instead of replacing the existing system. Cities would be reasonably compensated and the program could go ahead without taxpayers subsidizing the program. At the same time, producers would add the cost of recycling to the goods paid for at the till.
Now, with the program in jeopardy, some cities may be opting out, which means consumers could pay twice: at the till and through their property taxes.
More negotiation is clearly needed to sort this out and the province may have to step in to make sure any new producers-pay model is fair to all.
In the meantime, cities need to do a better job explaining how to keep contaminants out of the recycling system and to show how taxpayers end up paying extra for putting non-recyclable stuff in their blue boxes and carts.
Many people are still not on board with recycling, resent the imposition on their daily lives and do the job halfheartedly while others fill up their blue boxes properly and have leftovers with no place to store them.
If people understood the value of recycling, they may be more inclined to participate properly.
But if the producers do their job grudgingly, then how can we expect consumers to do theirs with care?