Thursday, November 20, 2014

Recycling rates could drop in Metro Vancouver due to provincial meddling

Early this year, I posted about changes to household recycling in BC. In short, recycling used to be managed by municipalities and will now be handled by the private sector. This is part of the province’s Extended Producer Responsibility Program. This program is meant to put the cost of recycling on the companies that produce the things we recycle. Of course producers will just past the cost back to consumers.

Because of this change, recycling for single-family household may actually get better as the new privately run program accepts more items. Sadly, recycling for people that live in apartments, condos, and townhouses could get much worse. This is alarming as the majority of people in Metro Vancouver don’t live in single-family housing.

I live in a condo in the City of Langley. As of this January, if our strata doesn’t purchase “enhanced” recycling service from Multi-Material BC, we will shift from weekly recycling collection to collection every two-weeks. We also won’t be able to recycle glass. If the recycling driver needs to exit his vehicle, “enhanced” service must also be purchased.

I could see some stratas telling people to throw recyclables in the garbage. Metro Vancouver bans recyclables in garbage. Waste haulers could face large fees if recycling is found in their collected garbage.

Some unsavory waste haulers are bypassing this ban by paying other municipalities outside of Metro Vancouver to accept their waste. Some are even sending waste to the US. Metro Vancouver passed Bylaw 280 to prevent this, but it was overturned by the province due to extreme lobbying by some waste haulers.

It would be a shame if close to a quarter-century of efficient recycling is unraveled by provincial meddling in this local issue.

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