The Sunshine Coast is striving to be a fully transparent, zero-waste community.
For years now our municipal governments have been working with community groups, average citizens and recycling businesses to dispose of our recyclable materials in the best way possible.
The Sunshine Coast Regional District is working hard to come up with Coast-wide recycling plans, while businesses like Gibsons Recycling Depot, Direct Disposal and Coastline Recycling work with residents in different ways to achieve their recycling goals.
Much progress has been made on all fronts. We’re getting there. We are on the right track, and we all seem to finally be on the same page and are working towards the same zero-waste goal.
So along comes the provincial government, more specifically the provincial Ministry of Environment, when they signed a printed paper and packaging (PPP) regulation in 2011 — which is a new system — led by government and not industry that will change the way our printed paper and packaging will be recycled.
Municipal governments are very worried, as are recycling businesses. This is a real game changer as Buddy Boyd of Gibsons Recycling told Gibsons councillors last week. Municipalities wanted out from under the cost. Now they get this system, which is essentially, as Boyd puts it, a monopoly system that will kill jobs at recycling plants and push the job of recycling onto others — others who are not qualified to handle the work in a responsible fashion.
Not one piece of the PPP will be diverted and made into new products.
The closest plant to handle old newspapers, for example, is in Colorado. All other PPP materials will go wherever someone can handle them and that someone is China. Yep, that’s right — on a slow boat to China, spewing greenhouse gases into the air as the big tanker ships chug right along. And what is China doing with it? Who knows. It appears the provincial government doesn’t care. Out of sight and out of mind, right?
The newspaper industry, through its association boards made up of publishers and other industry heads, have been lobbying and begging the province for answers for the past year now. Municipalities like the SCRD and the Town of Gibsons are also struggling with answers. None appear to be forthcoming from the provincial government.
But the answer is clear from our perspective — this system is simply a tax shift. Taxpayers are paying now for recycling services.
Industry and manufacturers will be left holding the responsibility of running and paying for the recycling systems in this province, who will in turn have to pass the cost onto us — the consumers. That means all our costs for these PPP items are going to go up to pay for this system.
It’s a shameful display by our provincial government.