by Colin Smith
Morinville councillors are embracing efforts to have producers take more responsibility for the recycling of their products.
At its October 23 meeting Town Council considered a letter from the Edmonton Region Waste Advisory Committee seeking its support for the establishment of an extended producer responsibility and policy and program approach in Alberta.
The concept of extended producer responsibility is that the producer of a product is responsible for that product through the post-consumer stage of its life cycle.
The aim is to shift the responsibilities and costs of recycling from municipalities to producers, which provides producers with increased incentive to reduce product and packaging waste and create products that are readily reusable or recyclable.
According to the Waste Advisory Committee, in 2009 all Canada’s provinces committed to developing extended producer responsibility programs and every one except Alberta has since done so.
Council received the letter as information and on a motion from Councillor Stephen Dafoe, decided to include the key messages on extended producer responsibility outlined by the committee in its advocacy plans for the year.
In addition, Council passed a motion proposed by Councillor Lawrence Giffin to write to the Minister of Environment about the issue.
The effort particularly focuses on designated materials that are provincially regulated and administered by stewardship organizations, such as oil, paint, tires, electronics, household hazardous waste and beverage containers.
It is felt that these provincial programs have not kept pace with market costs, putting a financial burden on municipalities, which have to pay to provide recycling collections, processing or disposal through taxes or utility fees.
Proposed changes include consolidating Alberta’s existing regulations into one, removing maximum environmental fees.
Other proposals are expanding the electronics program to include small appliances, audiovisual equipment, telecommunications equipment and power tools, and expansion of the used oil materials recycling program to include automotive anti-freeze/coolant containers and diesel exhaust fuel containers.