Make manufacturers pay for recycling? Calgary councillor says it's time

A Calgary city councillor wants to change the rules for who has to pay to deal with recyclables in this city.

Coun. Peter Demong to introduce notice of motion for Extended Producer Responsibility

Coun. Peter Demong says he'll be asking the city to put $50,000 towards studying the impacts of EPR. (CBC)

A Calgary city councillor wants to make changes to who pays to deal with recyclables in this city.

Peter Demong, councillor for Ward 14, is introducing a notice of motion next week asking the city to push the provincial government to look into Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

It's a concept Demong says shifts the costs of managing recyclable materials off the backs of municipalities and on to the companies that produce the stuff in the first place.

"Alberta stands alone in not having any kind of province-wide producer responsibility," he said.

Extended producer responsibility means the companies that produce products must cover the recycling costs for their entire life cycle. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

Demong says municipalities aren't even authorized to to implement any kind of producer responsibility.

"It has to be a provincial act," he said. 

The notice of motion will be brought to the council chambers on Feb. 4, and it's expected municipalities all over the province will show their support for EPR with similar motions.

It's aimed at making the companies that produce the recyclable products have to pay the costs for their entire life cycles.

Premier Rachel Notley says it's an issue that's come to the province's attention relatively recently. 

"It has implications for manufacturers and retailers and producers. So, we'll need to look at the whole picture," she said. "But certainly the principle is one that is worthy of our consideration and that's why we will take a look at it."

Premier Rachel Notley says the idea is worth considering. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Demong said he'll be asking the city to put $50,000 towards studying the impacts of EPR. 

"The whole point is as, as municipalities, we will continue to do everything we can to manage the recycled material, collect this recycled material," he said. "But there is practically nothing that a municipality can do to reduce the amount of recyclable material there is."

Demong said making the change to EPR would empower producers to find solutions and different materials that are more easily recyclable. 


Lucie Edwardson


Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary, currently focused on bringing you stories related to education in Alberta. In 2018 she headed a pop-up bureau in Lethbridge, Alta. Her experience includes newspaper, online, TV and radio. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson

With files from Anis Heydari


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