Homegrown recyclers fed to the wolves

OFF THE BEACH

John Gleeson / Coast Reporter
May 8, 2014 12:42 PM

“There’s something wrong here.”

That’s how Joe Harrison, secretary-treasurer for the GRIPS recycling depot in Pender Harbour, described the Multi-Material BC debacle this week.

Harrison wasn’t kidding.

Less than two weeks away from the official MMBC launch date of May 19, and Harrison didn’t know if GRIPS had the staff, space, equipment or money to handle the changes coming top-down from MMBC through the Sunshine Coast Regional District, which foolishly signed contracts with MMBC before having all the facts.

Suddenly GRIPS, a long-established and highly-regarded recycling depot, has an uncertain future.

The same is true for the award-winning Gibsons Recycling Depot, which is facing layoffs and possible shutdown because of MMBC.

“We’re no longer in control of what we do with our business,” co-owner Barb Hetherington said this week, and she wasn’t kidding either.

The MMBC model being imposed by the SCRD essentially ruins the business, which has to continue paying off loans taken out to pay for trucks and expensive equipment that are no longer required or even allowed under the new system.

It’s like the winners are being culled. That’s how the MMBC program is shaking out on the Sunshine Coast.

And while this nightmare is unfolding, SCRD staff last week said they wanted to talk to this paper about the “misinformation” being spread by Gibsons Recycling Depot’s Buddy Boyd, who has been warning the people that MMBC is a Trojan horse for Metro Vancouver’s garbage incinerators.

MMBC, of course, has denied the charge, and some people at the SCRD seem to accept that denial as fact. Hence the need to address the “misinformation.”

Yet the Recycling Regulation that governs MMBC does allow incineration. And Metro Vancouver is asking the provincial government that wrote the MMBC legislation to allow it to incinerate rather than landfill residuals from “existing and future stewardship programs.”

Since Metro’s new incinerator is not supposed to be built for another four years, it’s quite conceivable that MMBC’s position could “evolve.” So accusing Buddy Boyd of spreading misinformation is somewhat naive, at best, especially when you consider the character of the multinational giants that set up MMBC.

Joe Harrison suspects incineration is an end-goal.

“The paper and plastic companies are more interested in one-use products and not the least interested in recycling, really,” Harrison told me. Through MMBC, he said, the multinationals can “make sure it’s incinerated because they have control over the materials. So they can say, ‘We can’t sell it.’ I think it’s a bold attempt to make sure we have one-use plastic and one-use paper products.”

And Harrison’s opinion of Buddy Boyd is that “he’s the only one on the Coast who knows anything about recycling, but nobody listens,” while the SCRD experts “have neither the experience or the knowledge.”

But they’re running the show for MMBC.

And the real recyclers — the people who made it happen here on the Coast — are being fed to the wolves.


© Coast Reporter

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