Municipal leaders have called on the province to crack down on businesses, including B.C.’s newspaper industry, that have so far refused to pay to support the year-old producer-pay recycling system run by Multi Material B.C.
The resolution from Comox passed Thursday at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention noted 400 businesses still aren’t paying their share to MMBC – as required by the province’s recycling regulation – to help recover the paper and printed packaging they generate.
Local politicians argued MMBC might be able to expand service to more communities if it receives what it’s owed from the non-compliant businesses.
MMBC managing director Allen Langdon said it’s unfair to the stewardship agency’s paying members that other businesses won’t contribute, even though MMBC is collecting and processing their newsprint and recyclables.
“Some producers haven’t paid one nickel yet to meet their obligations under the regulation,” Langdon said. “The newspapers are a large component of the outstanding business.”
He wouldn’t give an estimate of the lost revenue.
MMBC provides service to about three-quarters of the province and Langdon confirmed that could rise in the future to take in other communities that initially opted out but now wish to join.
Newspaper industry representatives have resisted the system, saying it would cost B.C. newspapers $6 million a year. They argue newspapers should not count as “packaging” in the first place and that newsprint was already heavily recycled before MMBC launched.
Newspaper reps previously suggested the industry might launch its own rival system to retrieve and recycle newsprint.
The MMBC member businesses paying the bulk of the recycling system costs are large retailers and multinational consumer product corporations.
The recycling system was mandated by the provincial government to ensure the businesses responsible and not local municipalities pay the cost of recycling paper and packaging.
Not all UBCM delegates who spoke on the resolution were happy with MMBC.
“They’re providing terrible service in parts of the province, including almost no service in the East Kootenays,” Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft said.