MMBC gives cities more time to decide recycling role

Civic leaders had protested Sept. 16 deadline, contract terms

The new agency in charge of a producer-pay recycling system coming for all packaging and printed paper is now pledging to give cities more time to decide how they’ll participate.

Multi Material BC had come under fire from civic leaders who are protesting what they call unreasonable terms for their cities to act as curbside recycling collectors when the new system launches next spring.

Much criticism centred on a Sept. 16 deadline for cities to either commit to a contract to be a collector for MMBC, let the agency contract out blue box pickup to other collectors or else keep running recycling services without compensation from MMBC.

MMBC managing director Allen Langdon said Friday that deadline only applies for cities that want to be contractors when the rollout takes place in May of 2014, while ones that take more time can still join later.

“Some municipalities say they want more time to evaluate the offer,” Langdon said.

“We’re leaving it open-ended. They need more time, so we’re giving them more time.”

The provincially mandated program aims to make retailers, goods producers and newspapers that generate waste packaging and printed paper responsible for its collection and recycling.

Rather than replicate existing municipal recycling pickup systems, it was expected MMBC would pay cities to handle single-family residential collection.

But several mayors say the payments MMBC has offered cities is too low.

Cities fear they’ll lose money and that their residents may end up paying twice to support recycling – once through their taxes and then again in stores as MMBC member retailers pass on their costs through higher prices.

Municipal leaders also warn the new MMBC system may mean worse service – MMBC could, for example, arbitrarily switch to less frequent pickup – and there are doubts as to whether recycling rates will improve or that producers will be motivated to use less packaging.

Vancouver council voted Thursday to indicate it wants to provide recycling services under a contract to MMBC, but “subject to negotiation of a mutually agreeable contractual and financial arrangement.”

Vancouver’s city manager and city engineer said they “cannot responsibly recommend signing” MMBC’s current offer, estimating the city would be short at least $5.3 million per year.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie welcomed the relaxation of the deadline but said MMBC must also show flexibility on terms.

“There is a reason to impose deadlines but we don’t need to put ourselves under such pressure to make a deal,” he said.

Civic leaders at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention are to debate an emergency resolution on the topic demanding a formal extension and other changes.

NDP environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert said the province’s strategy to shift packaging responsibility to industry sounds good in theory but must work in the real world.

“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,” he said. “The government needs to step in to ensure this doesn’t happen.”

So far the newspaper industry has also balked at joining MMBC, citing differences over its share of the system costs and threatening to create their own newsprint collection system.

MMBC wants print publishing firms to indicate by Sept. 20 if they’re in or out.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campbell River RCMP. RCMP photo
Police investigation results in multiple property crime charges

A Campbell River RCMP investigation has lead to multiple property crime charges… Continue reading

Larry Short wanted to find the owner of a 166-year-old Bible found in an old family home, and engaged the Campbell River Genealogy Society to help. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror.
PHOTOS: Genealogy Society tracks down owners of 166-year-old Bible

Bible was found in a farmhouse in Crossfield, Alta., to be sent to new home in Kelowna

A picture of John taken at Children's Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River grocery store parking lot

The seven-year-old Campbell River resident has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

The Sayward fire department posted a picture of the clubhouse on the golf course in Sayward that caught fire and burned down during the early hours of Monday morning. (Sayward Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook)
An accidental fire burns down building on Sayward’s golf course

The fire broke out during the early hours of Monday morning said the RCMP

In a statement, BC RCMP’s media relations officer Cpl.Chris Manseau said that even an amount as small as grain of sand could be fatal. (File photo)
Sayward RCMP alerts residents after highly toxic opioid carfentanil found in community

The opioid’s toxicity levels is 100 times more than that of fentanyl

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Nanaimo and Victoria

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Most Read