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Papers must pay
I have read lots of negative things about the proposed new recycling program run by Multi Material BC. I’m not sure if it makes sense yet but perhaps it seems headed in the right direction.
I measured the amount of local newspaper that landed on our doorstep one day last week; it was 790 grams (nearly 2 lb.). Then I removed all the flyers and measured just the newspapers themselves; as I suspected, it was a meagre 150 g, leaving 540 g of just flyers, or 80% of the total weight. Assuming half of the newspaper itself is also advertising, that leaves 90% of the total weight to be nothing but advertising.
That is a whopping 180 lb. of newsprint dropped on each and every doorstep every year, of which at least 160 lb. is nothing more than flyers and ads. That is about 4,400 tons of nothing but flyers and ads in the Tri-Cities alone.
All of this eventually goes from the front door to the back door and into the recycling bin. Currently, municipalities — we taxpayers — are paying for this.
If I understand the MMBC proposal, it will push part of this cost back onto the newspapers.
To stay economically viable, newspapers will have to push this cost upstream onto advertisers — the Safeways, Canadian Tires and Shoppers Drug Marts of the world — mostly on the flyer components of their overall bundles. That seems wholly fair. They should pay the cost if they are to advertise in a responsible and sustainable manner instead of getting a free ride on the back of taxpayers, which seems to be presently the case.
Black Press, the owner of The Tri-City News and part of a B.C. newspaper effort to raise concerns about MMBC’s proposed costs to our industry, has been making these points to government and business groups:
• We are not against recycling; in fact, newspapers pioneered the concept with the blue box years ago.
• Newspapers are a product — the only product in the blue box — while packaging materials are wrapped or part of another product.
• Newsprint has the highest recycling value in the blue box.
• MMBC should be scrapped and control of recycling should return to the municipalities.
• Newspapers and industry should be partners with government in recycling, as is done in Ontario.
• Newspapers should be able to make their contribution in-kind, as is done in Ontario and as was originally agreed to by MMBC.