Editor’s note: though the letter below refers to a Vancouver Island-based business, the new recycling system under Multi-Material BC is of concern to the Valley Echo and all community newspapers in B.C., and we feel it’s an important issue to raise awareness of.
Kelvin McCullough, chief executive officer of Duncan-based Buckerfield’s, which has eight stores in B.C., says the company has no intention of paying for the provincial government’s plans to have Ontario’s Multi-Material BC take over its blue box recycling program on May 19th.
It’s always heart warming to see David stand up to Goliath, and Buckerfield’s is one of many businesses who have decided to stand up against Premier Christy Clark’s heavy-handed move to dismantle a program that works, and works well, in favour of Multi-Material BC, a move that could be accompanied by job losses and will result in increased recycling costs for all concerned.
Even the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, which has chosen a path that seems to rubber-stamp government policy without first soliciting members who would be adversely affected, has acknowledged there are a number of legitimate concerns with the Multi-Material BC deal.
The B.C. Chamber needs to remember that it represents businesses in this province — the vast majority of which are small to medium sized enterprises. It is an organization created to look out for its members, and should never be a cheerleader for the provincial government, whether it says it is “free enterprise” or not.
The British Columbia Yukon Community Newspapers Association (BCYCNA) is strongly considering pulling out of the blue box program entirely and starting its own, which poses significant cost issues for the program. As it sits, newspaper is the most valuable recyclable in the box at $120 a ton. That loss in revenue would have to be made up somewhere, and, surprise, surprise, that would be residential taxpayers and businesses. As BCYCNA president Hugh Nicholson says: “Without newspaper recycling, the blue box programs would collapse.”
As has been stated earlier, this shift to Multi-Material BC is part of a larger change in provincial regulations that would see the responsibility for managing the recycling of packaging and printed paper shift — away from governments and taxpayers and on to industry and their consumers. As part of this new “producer-pay” model, businesses selling packaged goods or supplying printed paper have to now be legally and financially responsible for the costs of recycling.
John Hinds, chief executive officer of Newspapers Canada, is also steadfastly against the plan.
“The current system is good for the environment, and good for communities to make decisions about what and how they want to recycle,” said Hinds. “This is transferring it to an international or national group of packagers.”
We applaud Buckerfield’s for taking this stand and rising its voice above the chorus that is taking the provincial government to task for the projected change.
Director, Provincial Affairs, B.C.
Canadian Federation of Independent Business