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Greater Victoria, BC News


Date ArticleType
9/3/2013 Published Article
New Recycling Rules are Bad for Business

In 2011 the Ministry of Environment made a slight change to BC’s recycling regulations, adding Packaging and Printed Paper (PPP) to the Product Stewardship Program. The change takes effect in spring 2014, making businesses responsible for PPP recycling; meaning any business that brands, imports, or contributes PPP will have to support the cost of consumer recycling programs for these materials. The cost of recycling PPP is currently covered by consumers, who pay for residential recycling programs through taxes. Under the changes to the provincial regulations, a new and much more complex administration system will be in place to handle PPP recycling. Ultimately, this regulation change will hurt businesses and cost consumers more.

In order for businesses to comply they had to submit a stewardship plan, but it’s such a complex process that it isn’t really an option for most businesses. The other way to comply is by signing on with an organization with a stewardship plan in place. Multi Material BC (MMBC) was created specifically to fill this role. Businesses will have to track how much PPP they provide to consumers, and relate this data to MMBC. MMBC will charge businesses a fee for the amount of PPP they are introducing to the waste stream, and will use those funds to pay recycling providers.

Businesses will now have to pay for the cost of this new and more complicated system of administration, as well the cost of PPP recycling itself. The impacts will be particularly stringent for small businesses, which contribute a rather small percentage of PPP to the waste stream. The cost to consumers under this new system will be two-fold. Businesses will easily shift the burden of paying for PPP recycling to consumers through increased prices. Despite MMBC’s contribution to regional recycling programs, it is unlikely residents will receive a tax break on the recycling fees they are already paying. Consumers will effectively be paying for the cost of recycling PPP through both taxes and increased prices.

Few businesses are aware that they will soon be responsible for the cost of recycling PPP because the regulation changes haven’t been sufficiently communicated by the Ministry of Environment. The BC Chamber of Commerce is working with MMBC and the Ministry to provide more communication to the business community about the impacts of these regulations, and to have small business excluded from the program. The Victoria Chamber is initiating a letter writing campaign directed at the Ministry of Environment to discourage this double taxation effect for recycling programs, as it represents  a lose/lose change for businesses and consumers.

By Bruce Carter
CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce

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