New Brunswick

Industry-funded recycling program backed by Fundy-area mayors

The Fundy Regional Service Commission is urging the provincial government to move forward with an Extended Producer Responsibility program for packaging and printed paper.

Fundy Regional Service Commission passes motion in support of a producer-pay system

The Fundy Regional Service Commission is urging the provincial government to move forward with an Extended Producer Responsibility program for packaging and printed paper.

The program would have industry pay the cost of recycling plastic and paper waste generated by the consumption of their products.

Quispamsis Mayor Murray Driscoll said a producer-pay system would allow municipalities to improve service with no additional costs. (CBC)
​Quispamsis Mayor Murray Driscoll said a producer-pay system would allow municipalities to improve service with no additional costs.

"We do know that it's going to be in the cost of the product at the early stages, at the beginning of the lifecycle and not at the end of the lifecycle, so I think it's important to recognize that the tax rate will not be adversely affected," Driscoll said.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) models are used in Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, according to a 2014 study presented by Recycle NB.

I just don't want folks to think there's this gold mine of money out there to pay for them to have their recycling picked up at the curbside.- Jack Keir, Fundy Regional Service Commission

There are two models: full responsibility, where industry collects, processes and sells recyclable material, and shared responsibility, where municipalities operate recycling programs and are reimbursed for their costs.

In Ontario, according to Recycle NB, producers pay 50 per cent of the program costs. In Quebec, industry is responsible for 100 per cent.

Pat McCarthy, the chief executive officer of Recycle NB,  said the cost to industry of a 100 per cent producer-funded system in New Brunswick would be approximately $15 million and could create 97 jobs in the province.

Government regulations would designate certain products for collection. There is no final list, but it would likely be similar to items accepted by existing municipal programs. 

McCarthy said a provincial, industry-funded recycling program would contribute to waste reduction. "Whether you live on Grand Manan or in Shippagan or Edmundston, you're going to have access to roadside recycling," he said. 

Caution urged

Jack Keir, the executive director of the Fundy Regional Service Commission, said he believes producers should pay to recycle the waste they generate.

Jack Keir, the executive director of the Fundy Regional Service Commission, said he believes producers should pay to recycle the waste they generate. (CBC)
But he cautioned mayors and rural representatives at a meeting of the commission on Tuesday about the costs of setting up a program.

"There's going to be costs associated with collecting it and sorting it and baling it and selling it and whether there's enough money from the industry, if there is, well that's wonderful," Keir told reporters.

"I just don't want folks to think there's this gold mine of money out there to pay for them to have their recycling picked up at the curbside."

The commission passed a motion on Tuesday in favour of a EPR system.

The Fundy Regional Service Commission, which covers an area from St. Martin's to Musquash, is struggling to make a decision on the future of recycling.

Landfill officials estimate costs of roughly $6 million to repair and rebuild compost and recycling facilities and there has been no agreement on whether to maintain the status quo or expand service. 

Mark McLeod, the general manager of the landfill at Crane Mountain outside Grand-Bay Westfield, told commission members that an Extended Producer Responsibility program is too far away to be considered a solution to existing problems.

"This is 2020 at best. The report was done last year and the government has not done anything yet," he said.

Officials with Recycle NB are presenting the idea of industry-funded recycling to municipalities and regional governments province-wide.

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