Liberals absent as municipalities, businesses struggle to implement recycling program

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VICTORIA — The B.C. Liberals have failed to show leadership as municipalities and businesses across the province struggle with how a new producer-pay recycling program should work, say New Democrats.

“The B.C. Liberals brought in what could have been a positive policy change but then just walked away and left it for others to figure out how it should be done,” said New Democrat local government critic Selina Robinson. “The result is chaos on all sides. Municipalities are being forced to make a decision on a plan that is simply not ready to go.”

Municipalities are facing a Sept. 16 deadline to commit to a plan with Multi-Material B.C., an industry group formed to take over responsibility for collecting and recycling packaging and printed paper as of May 2014. The group was formed in response to the 2011 change which shifted the burden of disposal costs to industry.

“Many municipalities have voiced their concern that the Sept. 16 deadline doesn’t give them enough time to consider MMBC’s offer. Currently, there’s also no option for municipalities to negotiate the terms. At a very minimum, the B.C. Liberals should push back the deadline,” said Robinson.

“The policy change sounds good in theory, but it needs to work in the real world,” said New Democrat environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert. “If at the end of the day British Columbians have less access to recycling programs, and less waste is diverted from landfills, this policy has not been a success. The government needs to step in to ensure this doesn’t happen.”

B.C. New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to fulfill their responsibility to local governments to ensure the continued success of BC’s recycling regime.