Backed by grocery firms and the interests of the plastics industry, starting May 19, Multi Material BC (MMBC) will be charging shoppers a non-refundable $110 million annually when they buy printed paper, packaging and non-refundable containers.
Both residents and recyclers have been left to wonder why B.C. didn't simply outlaw unrecyclable bonded paper and plastic packaging and instead go to the current efficient refundable deposit system used by bottle depots.
Recently, the Sunshine Coast Regional District contracted with MMBC to collect, process and ship non-refundable glass, metal, paper, plastic and cardboard packaging and containers to be recycled.
Kevin McCulloch, CEO of Buckerfields, says he will boycott MMBC in protest. He challenges double taxation without public financial accountability and complains B.C. did not consult with the legislature or public before giving taxing powers to a society controlled by Ontario directors.
While plastic producers publicly endorse recycling, they are primarily interested in one-use containers, which do not cut into profits. Sunshine Coast recycling businesses tell us that non-recyclable plastic/paper packaging residuals have no existing market. Coast residents have been left to speculate. What does MMBC have in mind?
Metro Vancouver is desperate to find inexpensive alternatives to trucking 370,000 tonnes annually to Ashcroft landfills.
Without assurances, connecting MMBC with the Aquilini proposal for the metro garbage incineration electricity generator in Howe Sound does not appear unreasonable. Combustion of garbage requires energy and burning MMBC's unrecyclable plastic is an obvious answer.
Large volumes of ash may require extensive Port Mellon landfills while leachate from high clay content in shiny paper may worsen acidification of Howe Sound and Sea-to-Sky air pollution.
Instead of easily enacted deposit refunds, consumers fear paying for packaging and paper four times - at the store, on property taxes, on hydro bills and when they breathe.
Joe Harrison, Garden Bay
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