Calgary says province could recover more recycling costs from manufacturers
Other provinces charge cost of recycling back to companies producing packaging
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The provincial government is leaving money on the table when it comes to recycling costs, according to the City of Calgary and the Alberta Recycling Council.
The issue came up this week as China stopped accepting certain mixed plastics generated by municipal recycling programs, including Calgary's.
Sharon Howland, leader of program management with Waste and Recycling Services in Calgary said China's new rules are an opportunity of the province to recognize that there is a bigger issue in terms of the packaging waste that's generated.
"We consume products that generate far too much waste, and the burden of dealing with that waste is then left with taxpayers (...) when really it should be the company that manufactures that product."
She said policies on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) are already in place in British Columbia and eastern provinces, and it's coming down the pipe in Saskatchewan.
"It basically means the producer has to pay for the recycling of a product," said Howland.
She said when producers are saddled with a greater share of the disposal costs up front, they often develop better ways of packaging products.
Howland said the city has been lobbying the province for five years to develop an EPR policy.
Christina Seidel, executive director of the Recycling Council of Alberta, said the province signed on to a Canada-wide action plan to implement EPR policies in 2009.
"The province has given us no indication that they're working towards this at all, and we find that very troubling," said Sidel.
Metro contacted the provincial government for comment but did not recieve a response by press time.