Producers of packaging are responsible for a product right until the end of its life. They have created built-in costs for this service. Alberta is the only Canadian province that doesn’t legislate what’s called Extended Producer Responsibility for packaging. Black Press photo

Producers are already charging customers for recycle services

Fixed recycle fees are built-in to packaging rates by producers across the country.

Albertans may be paying twice for their recycling services.

Information provided by the Recycle Council of Alberta (RCA) during the Town of Ponoka’s waste management open house recently points to a recycle fee that all manufacturers of packaging in Canada pay.

This news was provided to Ponoka News after questions of the town’s contractor, Green For Life (GFL) announced it is unable to collect plastics with the recycle symbol #3 to #7.

Lindsay Seidel-Wassenaar, representing RCA, said one issue is that there isn’t a strong market for certain types of plastics, plus the #3 to #7 streams contaminate the #1 and #2 streams.

“Your one and twos are the ones that get you the most money if you’re marketing them,” explained Seidel-Wassenaar.

“Nobody wants mixed plastic.”

One of the challenges in Alberta is that sorting facilities are not advanced enough to deal with the different types of plastics. Those plastics that are #3 to #7 are now being sent to the landfill.

Looking at Alberta’s recycling program, the province is behind the rest of the country, explained Seidel-Wassenaar. “That’s mainly because we don’t have a legislation called Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).”

What this does is put the onus of ensuring recycling is managed by the producers of packaging. “The producer is responsible for the end of life of the product.”

In British Columbia for example, Seidel-Wassenaar said residents don’t pay for a recycling program in their communities.

“(They) pay for that when (they) buy the product,” said Seidel-Wassenaar, adding that the cost is a fraction of a penny.

Poll: Tell us what you think. Should manufacturers be responsible for the end of life of their products?

Pricing rates

It appears there is a national pricing agreement by manufacturers for packaging in Canada although it is up to the manufacturer to decide how to manage the money.

In some provinces, that EPR requires manufacturers to ensure their products are managed till their end of the product’s life.

“And yet we (Albertans) do not have EPR,” said Seidel-Wassenaar.

Shedding some light on this topic was Christina Seidel, executive director for the RCA.

“Essentially in Alberta we are paying for service we are not getting,” said Seidel.

In 2009, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), a report dubbed A Canada-Wide Strategy for Sustainable Packaging deals with this very issue.

“The purpose of the Canada-wide Strategy for Sustainable Packaging is to build on the Canada-wide Action Plan for EPR to help create a more consistent Canada-wide approach to EPR for packaging and to support a shift by all packaging actors towards greater packaging sustainability,” states the executive summary.

While the RCA hasn’t been able to confirm the actual cost of the programs from manufacturers, she pointed out that the pricing is the same across the country. Again, using British Columbia as the example, unless there’s a higher-end program for recycling, it is subsidized by manufacturers.

The City of Vancouver has completely done away with a municipal recycling program.

Albert Shamess, director of waste management and resource recovery for the city, confirmed in an email that British Columbia requires producers to be responsible for organizing and paying for recycling operations.

Ensuring that services are provided is Recycle BC.

“Their approach was to either hire a contractor to do the collection or pay a municipality to do it if the municipality wanted to continue providing the service,” explained Shamess in an email.

“We didn’t make manufacturers handle it, rather we chose to let Recycle BC deliver the service and pay for it rather than the city,” he said, adding that the transition went rather smoothly.

Alberta municipalities on the hook

Communities in Alberta are left having to pay for a service that residents appear to already pay.

Alberta is the only province west of Quebec that doesn’t have EPR legislation for this type of service. Maritimes provinces also do not have EPR legislation.

“Municipalities are essentially left on the hook to provide those programs, and they pay for them,” stated Seidel.

Correction

***This story has been corrected to clarify that there isn’t a mandate from the government related to manufacturer pricing, but that it’s up to the manufacturers themselves. The story was also corrected to point out that some Maritimes provinces also do not have an EPR. We regret the error.***

Just Posted

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Rimbey RCMP need held identifying vandals

Plus, GPS in stolen vehicle helps locate it and the suspect in Red Deer

Ponoka Chamber to host election forum

All-candidates forum for Lacombe-Ponoka set for March 28 at the Ponoka Legion

Ponoka County $3.6 million surplus used to prepare for future

An unexpected grant carryover along with operational savings in 2018 has provided… Continue reading

St. Michael’s Church commemoration held west of Bashaw

The celebration acknowledged the history of Hungarian settlers in the area

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Women of Excellence Awards introduces ‘Women of Excellence in Construction’

Gala will take place June 19th at the Sheraton Red Deer

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Teen girl accused in plot to attack Kamloops school with weapons out on bail

Judge warned the girl she would be back in jail if she threatened to shoot anyone

Oil prices, Alberta election call cloud Stampede chuckwagon auction expectations

The top money bid last year came from Versatile Energy Services, Ltd.

Lacombe hosts 6th Invasive Species Council Conference at LMC

Council looks to protect native ecological environments in Alberta

Pot industry welcomes decreased edibles tax, but unhappy medical tax remains

Taxes can increase the cost of medical cannabis by as much as 25 per cent

‘It has to send a message:’ Broncos families await sentencing for truck driver

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving and apologized in court

MPs continue voting marathon as Tories protest shutdown of Wilson-Raybould motion

Multiple MPs have resigned from Trudeau’s Liberal cabinet

Most Read