Opinion

EDITORIAL: Rethink recycling program

The provincial push for a producer-pay recycling system is based on the concept of charging manufacturers whose products contribute to the waste stream, such as plastic packaging.

But the soon to become government-mandated program is going to penalize some unfairly, including citizens.

For instance, it will hit the newspaper industry with a 20 cent per kilogram cost for its “packaging” – the very paper the newspapers are printed on.

That vested interest aside, it’s debatable whether the new system will achieve its environmental goals, while simultaneously driving up costs for consumers.

Although the MMBC collection system may have benefits for communities that currently do not have adequate curbside recycling programs, it is not needed in Abbotsford, where the city has been achieving high rates of waste diversion through its own recycling and compost collection.

Consequently, this city will hold out on joining MMBC for the time being – and that comes at a cost, since MMBC will provide no subsidy for communities whose programs don’t conform to their standards.

Maintaining Abbotsford’s current program is good for the environment, and residents who receive curbside pickup of glass containers and other recyclables that MMBC would not collect.

Local consumers will effectively pay the cost of recycling twice, as producers build the price of the MMBC program into their products, and taxpayers foot the bill for curbside pickup.

Though MMBC recently provided exemptions for small businesses, it will also negatively impact local economic engines such as berry farming, where consumer preference drives the use of plastic clamshell containers for retail sales – dumping the cost onto farmers, and ultimately, customers.

This is a program that needs to be put on hold and reconsidered in its entirety.

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