Nova Scotia

N.S. municipalities want new recycling system within 9 months

Municipalities in Nova Scotia are pushing for a new recycling program within nine months, but Environment Minister Gordon Wilson has a different timeline in mind.

Group advocates for program where packaging producers pay recycling costs

Municipalities in Nova Scotia are pushing for a new recycling program within nine months. (Provided by Scotia Recycling)

Municipalities in Nova Scotia are pushing for a new recycling program within nine months, but Environment Minister Gordon Wilson has a different timeline.

Municipal leaders want extended producer responsibility, commonly called EPR. It means companies that create product packaging pay to have the material recycled.

Municipal officials estimate the total price for blue bag programs across Nova Scotia is upwards of $30 million per year.

Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia already have extended producer responsibility systems in place. According to municipal officials, those provinces not only have reduced recycling costs but are diverting more material from their landfills.

Steven Rayworth, solid waste manager for Cumberland's Joint Services Management Authority, said British Columbia is now recycling laminates like chip bags, chocolate bar wrappers and freezer bags.

Rayworth made a presentation to the annual meeting of the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities on Thursday.

Waye Mason, the federation's president until Friday, said that because so many provinces already have moved to producer responsibility systems the manufacturers have included recycling costs within the price of their products.

Mason has since relinquished his duties to Pam Mood and remains as past-president.

Nova Scotians pay twice, says Waye Mason

He said Nova Scotians pay twice by not having the system, once when they buy certain products and a second time when their taxes pay for blue bag programs.

"So we really feel that it would be advantageous to municipalities and their taxpayers to move to EPR right away," said Mason.

Meanwhile, the province is considering two reports dealing with the issue. The latest is an efficiency report delivered in September.

Wilson also said this week that any system that is set up has to involve New Brunswick and P.E.I.

"Some consistency across borders, that would be what the retail sector is looking for," said Wilson.

He said New Brunswick is just starting to study the issue and will need up to 18 months to get ready.

"In a year from now, hopefully, we won't be asking the same questions," said Wilson.

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