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Mission not joining MMBC

Multi Material BC is slated to take control of recycling pick-up in some communities in B.C. in May. - Record file photo
Multi Material BC is slated to take control of recycling pick-up in some communities in B.C. in May.
— image credit: Record file photo

Mission will not be participating in a new recycling program scheduled to come into effect across the province in May.

The district wants more information about Multi Material BC (MMBC) and is paying close attention to how other communities adjust to the program before signing on, said Mission's environmental coordinator Jennifer Meier.

She explained the current incentives being offered are not enough to cover Mission's costs to run its current curbside recycling program.

There would be service reductions for Mission residents under the MMBC plan as the existing program collects materials at the curb that MMBC will not, such as glass and plastic film.

"We're talking to them and willing to negotiate to be a part of it in the future," she added. "We haven't closed any doors."

MMBC is an industry stewardship group that the province has charged with recycling all types of packaging and printed paper (PPP).

The program is intended to compel those who produce paper and packaging to also be in charge of having it recycled – putting residential recycling in control of industry.

Industry representatives will increase the costs of products to pay for the collection and processing of PPP from the curb, multi-family units and depots. As the PPP program cost is set by each producer and incorporated into the cost of the product, the cost for recycling will not be transparent to the consumer.

Mission isn't the only community that doesn't like what the program is offering so far. Abbotsford is also opting out, and an alliance of business groups including the newspaper industry is opposed to the new recycling system – demanding the province halt the planned May 19 launch and reconsider the program.

It's been a bitter fight with small business groups that complain they are set to pay punishing high fees, which would then be passed on to consumers.

Earlier this month, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and eight other associations launched a campaign in B.C. newspapers and online at rethinkitbc.ca to increase the pressure on Victoria.

CFIB provincial affairs director Mike Klassen predicted job losses and some business closures as a result of the MMBC regulations and fees.

The opposition groups say they support the aim of the program but dispute the fees and say multinational consumer goods firms like Unilever and Walmart control MMBC and are manipulating it to their benefit, not that of local businesses.

Most of the fees for container waste are double or even quadruple what businesses in Ontario pay to a similar agency.

This week, the NDP accused the B.C. government of handing over control of the provincial blue box recycling system to Toronto-based multinational executives who will be unaccountable while B.C. businesses and households pay higher costs.

Opposition small business critic Lana Popham raised the issue of Multi Material BC in the Legislature Monday, calling on the province to change course before the agency's new system for recycling packaging and printed paper takes effect.

"If government doesn't take a step back, B.C.'s recycling system is going to end up in a giant dumpster," Popham said.

"The control of recycling should never have been outsourced to the large corporate interests based in Ontario and abroad. This is a profound failure. This program needs to be paused and the entire concept reconsidered."

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