On May 5th, The Nanaimo Daily News published a story linking MMBC to plans for waste-to-energy facilities in Metro Vancouver. Articles covering the same topic have run in The Coast Reporter during the month of April and have come up in meetings with regional districts and municipalities.
Given MMBC’s strong commitment to recycling and to environmental stewardship, it is important to set the record straight on waste-to-energy, or what the newspaper article called incineration, and to address other claims made in the Nanaimo Daily News article.
On the topic of incineration, we have stated before, and will state again, that MMBC has no plans to direct collected material nor any residual material from the recycling process to a waste-to-energy facility. Period. Neither our stewardship plan, nor our contractual agreements include this option.
MMBC’s packaging and printed paper stewardship program, set to launch on May 19thacross BC, will provide the opportunity for residents to recycle more items than ever before. From milk cartons to plant pots, aluminum foil packaging to drink cups, many new items will be diverted from landfill, cutting waste costs and supporting local and provincial environmental goals.
A cornerstone of the program is the BC government’s requirement that MMBC achieve a 75% recovery rate for packaging and printed paper – an increase over the current 53% province-wide rate.
MMBC, through our agreement with our post-collection partner Green by Nature (GBN), will boost the efficiency of sorting recyclables, sending less material to landfill than ever before. As part of their agreement with MMBC, GBN has committed that no materials picked up as part of the program, recyclable or otherwise, will be directed to a waste-to-energy facility.
The Nanaimo Daily News also claims that the new recycling program lacks mechanisms to encourage producers to produce packaging with more recycled content, and packaging that is more recyclable, better designed and more reusable/refillable than it is today.
MMBC’s weight-based fee structure rewards companies that reduce the weight of PPP brought to market. This means if a company produces less packaging and printed paper, or re-designs their packaging to use more recyclable materials, they will pay lower fees to cover the cost of recycling in BC. We feel that this incentive-based approach will be effective in encouraging producers to re-examine their packaging requirements. In addition, MMBC will provide guidance to producers, helping them to design packaging that is more reusable and recyclable.
The article goes on to state that BC businesses, newspapers and consumers will have to absorb a new “hidden” tax to pay for the program.
There are no plans for new taxes or fees for consumers. The MMBC program shifts recycling costs from individual BC residents (through property taxes) to industry, making companies responsible for the waste they produce. While it is up to each individual business to determine how to manage the costs of participating in this new program, these new costs will represent just a fraction of one cent per item in most cases.