‘Freeriding’ BC Newspapers Costing Recycling Program Millions

Connector Spring 2016

The province is warning BC’s major newspapers to get in line, after they failed to contribute an estimated $16 million in fees to the province’s new recycling program.

Documents obtained by CBC News show three publishers representing The Vancouver Sun and The Province and two community newspaper groups – Black Press and Glacier Media – all received warning letters from the Ministry of Environment late last year, demanding they comply with BC’s new regulations.

The rules, which came into effect, May 19, 2014, require the producers of all packaging and printed paper (PPP) in BC to pay for the cost of recycling the products they sell consumers.

The aim of the program is to shift the cost from taxpayers to producers. Similar programs are also in effect in four other provinces.

The rules give producers two options: join the umbrella organization called Multi Material BC and pay an annual fee or set up their own collection and recycling system.

A statement released by the Ministry of Environment said the province was working to enforce the rules. The statement noted that so far the ministry has been able to bring about 150 producers in line with the new rules.

Meanwhile MMBC is still recycling the newspapers, and that cost is covered by the 1,305 companies that are paying their fees.

Another important consequence of the newspapers not contributing, is that communities like Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission, Kamloops, and Comox that want to join the MMBC program can’t because of the revenue shortfall.

Comox Mayor Paul Ives says he and other mayors met with the Environment Ministry about the problem as recently as February, but at this point nothing has been resolved. And that’s costing taxpayers in his community, who have to foot the bill for recycling in his community, both when they buy products and when they pay their municipal fees, he says. The cost to each household is about $18 a year, he estimates.

At the same time, one of the world’s largest fast food companies – Yum! Brands Inc. – is finally starting to comply with BC’s new recycling regulations, after CBC revealed it it was facing more than $200,000 in fines.

CBC News reported that the Kentucky-based multinational – and its subsidiaries KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell  – were the target of a crackdown by BC’s Ministry of Environment. According to the June 2015 enforcement letter addressed to Yum! Brands CEO David Novak, in addition to a $200,000 fine, the company was facing potential administrative penalties of up to $40,000 per day.

Nine months after the company was sent the enforcement letter, Yum! Brands had still not complied with the regulations. But a day after CBC published the letter, the company signed up for the provincial program known as MMBC.

Source: CBC News