THE PROVINCIAL recycling program being organized by Multi-Material BC (MMBC) came under fire last week at a convention of municipalities in Vancouver with cities demanding more time to negotiate contracts, some saying that the incentives offered by MMBC to perform the services would leave their current recycling programs worse off.
But Mayor David Pernarowski remains keen on joining the program that will be paid for by producers of paper and packing, saying that Terrace’s position as a city that currently has curbside garbage collection but is seeking to add recycling makes the program well suited to its needs.
“We want to become a community that is highlighting how this program can work to the advantage of the community, so we’re moving forward with this as soon as we can,” the mayor said.
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities has asked MMBC for 90 extra days to let cities decide if they want to join.
MMBC said in a press release last week that 85 percent of communities that already have curbside programs have already indicated they are interested.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, MMBC has promised municipalities who agreed to the program by this week’s deadline that “the plan will be implemented as of May 19th, 2014” but that “for those communities who have requested an extension to negotiate financial incentives, MMBC has indicated programs may now start in those communities at the earliest possible time.”
Pernarowski said that Terrace has made its intentions clear about joining the program, but added he is also hoping to continue negotiating the final contract, perhaps seeking to reduce penalties for loads that are contaminated with non-recyclables and making sure the insurance policies are adequate.
“We continue to negotiate on the contract. We haven’t signed it, we just indicated that we are interested in participating in the program. So there will be opportunities for us to meet again and have a dialogue working towards signing off on a final contract,” said the mayor.
In an interview following a UBCM speech, premier Christy Clark addressed the challenges facing the MMBC program, saying she realizes it hasn’t met expectation so far.
“I think it was the MMBC folks based in Toronto [who] didn’t do a great job as processors and producers of paper products,” said Clark, “in informing and consulting with local communities in particular, and small businesses, about how it would be implemented.”
Some businesses who are being forced by B.C.’s new provincial recycling regulation to pay into a stewardship program by May 19, 2014 have also demanded more consultation time, and Clark was responding in her statements to those concerns.
As with municipalities, businesses have also been granted more time to consult with MMBC, in their case over how much they will have to pay into the system if they are packagers of retail items.
Pernarowski said Terrace is still planning a bi-weekly curbside recycling program, that will include glass pickup, to alternate with garbage pickup that will also be done bi-weekly.
The mayor said he can’t guarantee that the MMBC incentive of approximately $134,000 will be enough to cover all the costs.
“It may, it may not. But at the end of the day it will be better than having the community cover all of that expense,” Pernarowski said.
Christy Clark used a simple example to illustrate the basic concept behind the coming program that will see producers foot the bill for the MMBC provincial recycling program.
“The idea is that the people who make the box will sell me the Kraft Dinner. I own the food, but they continue to own the box. I give it to my local government, and the producer of the box continues to own the box and then it goes into recycling and they can reap the profit from that box.”