British Columbia

KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell facing fines for violating B.C. recycling rules

One of the world's largest fast food companies — Yum! Brands Inc. — could be fined upwards of $200,000 for apparently not falling in line with B.C.'s new recycling regulations.

Kentucky-based company which owns the brands is one of largest fast food operators in the world

Yum! Brands, which operates the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands, is not complying with B.C.'s recycling regulations, according to B.C.'s Ministry of Environment. (Yum! Brands Inc)

One of the world's largest fast food companies — Yum! Brands Inc. — could be fined upwards of $200,000 for not falling in line with B.C.'s new recycling regulations.

The Kentucky-based multinational  — and its subsidiaries KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell  — "currently remain in non-compliance with the recycling regulation," according to B.C.'s Ministry of Environment.

Those new recycling regulations, which came into effect two years ago, shifted recycling costs from taxpayers to producers by requiring any company producing packaging or printed paper in B.C. to pay for the full cost of recycling the material.

The province has given producers two options: They can can join the umbrella organization called Multi Material B.C. and pay an annual fee, or they can set up their own collection and recycling system.

No compliance

According to an enforcement letter addressed to Yum! Brands CEO David Novak — which was obtained by CBC News — in addition to the $200,000 fine, the company also faces potential administrative penalties of up to $40,000 per day.

The ministry also warns that the public could be made aware of which companies aren't paying up.

"The ministry has found the public reporting of its enforcement actions to be a highly effective compliance mechanism," notes the letter.

When contacted by CBC News, Yum! Brands issued a statement saying it was "committed to contributing positively to the communities in which we live and work."

"We are proud of our record across Canada and we are working with the Ministry of Environment in B.C. to ensure our practices are in line with both the public and government expectations for responsible environmental practices," said the statement issued on Thursday.

But nine months after the company was sent the enforcement letter, Yum! Brands has still not complied with the regulations, the ministry confirmed.

"After the issuance of the warning letter, Ministry staff worked with Yum! Brands, Inc. to explain the regulatory requirements to them," said a statement from the ministry on Wednesday.

"They are presently not in compliance and are subject to escalating enforcement action."

Participation required

Allen Langdon, the operator of Multi Materials B.C. — which is mandated to handle recycling for 1,300 registered companies — said fast food businesses produce a lot of paper products, including hot and cold drink cups that can easily be recycled.

He could not, however, comment on specific companies that do not comply with the regulations, nor on what annual fees Yum! Brands might have to pay if the company joins the MMBC system.

Last week CBC News reported that the province's three major newspaper chains, Postmedia, Glacier Media and Black Press are also facing enforcement action for failing to comply with the rules.

Those publishers have said they object to the costs of the MMBC program and are attempting to negotiate another deal with the province.

It remains unclear when the ministry will take further action against Yum! Brands and the newspaper publishers.

However, the ministry did say that since the new regulations were put in place in 2014, "compliance actions, including sending advisory and warning letters, have resulted in over 250 additional producers coming into compliance."

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Mike Laanela is an online journalist with CBC News in Vancouver.


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