Recycle BC added new paper and packaging items to its stewardship plan but proposed changes to the number of eligible collection sites would reduce depot collection sites.
In its stewardship program consultation document, Recycle BC proposed community eligibility criteria that has rung alarms bells for rural areas within the regional district.
At the Dec. 9 board meeting in Salmon Arm, Ben Van Nostrand, Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s (CSRD) team leader – Environmental Health Services, asked the board to authorize chair Kevin Flynn to write a letter to the Ministry of Environment outlining concerns with Recycle BC’s Packaging and Paper Product Extended Producer Stewardship Plan consultation document, specifically related to the proposed community eligibility criteria.
Nine of 17 existing CSRD recycle depots would no longer be eligible for funding from Recycle BC for the collection and recycling of packaging and paper materials;
If the CSRD chose to continue operating non-criteria recycle depots, the financial responsibility would be shifted to taxpayers in order to keep the CSRD recycling depot program in operation, where the Recycling Regulation outlines that producers of material under specific product categories are responsible for the costs to collect and recycle those materials;
If the CSRD chose not to operate non-criteria recycling depots, many communities would no longer be funded by Recycle BC under the proposed model which will create a significant decrease in access to services for residents in the CSRD’s electoral areas; and
The CSRD invested heavily in capital and human resources, to establish the depot system under the terms of its existing service agreements with Recycle BC. The proposed criteria puts those investments in jeopardy.
Under Recycle BC’s proposed community criteria, depots located at Parson, Skimikin Lake, Salmon Valley, Sorrento Fire Hall, Downtown Malakwa, Scotch Creek, Trout Lake, Seymour Arm and Falkland would not longer be included.
Directors agreed unanimously and in a Dec. 16 letter, to Environment Minister George Heyman, board chair Kevin Flynn pointed out that the proposed “community eligibility criteria’ would have a significant impact on the CSRD’s network of existing Recycle BC depots.
“Given that the CSRD was one of the early adopters of the depot offer from Multi-Materials BC (now Recycle BC) and rolled out the largest depot network in BC on Jan. 1, 2015, the proposed “community eligibility criteria” in the plan will now reduce eligible depots in the CSRD by over 50 per cent,” wrote Flynn. “These newly identified “non-eligible” CSRD depots will account for one/third of Recycle BC depot transactions (6,000) within the CSRD and add a significant tax burden on CSRD property owners if the province supports the shift from the producer back to the local taxpayer.”
Flynn pointed out that the CSRD continues to demonstrate leadership in supporting the province’s efforts to reduce the amount of residential printed paper and packaging that is otherwise destined to be received at landfills across the region and the province.
“Although the acceptance of this plan by the province may meet the conditions of legislation, it will have profound impacts to rural British Columbia and our collective efforts to support the full transition of costs from the taxpayer to the producer,” Flynn added. “The CSRD strongly encourages the Ministry to consider the CSRD’s concerns over the “community eligibility criteria” when reviewing Recycle BC’s proposed Stewardship Plan update and to act accordingly to represent the interests of all British Columbians.”