Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Packaging included? No. Why not?

It's one of those good news/bad news stories...

The good news is that the Liberal government inherited a good recycling policy ~Extended Producer Responsibility ~ and made it better.

BC became a world leader in the 1990s for introducing a series of landmark recycling laws. The new laws relieved the poor hapless local governments who have been picking up after the Throw-Away Society at taxpayer expense and put responsiblity right where it belongs, on the producers of the stuff that becomes waste.

This gives the producers an incentive to reduce their waste.

When the Liberal government took power in the early 2000s, they developed a "framework" recycling regulation to replace the collection of stand-alone regulations that had been brought in by earlier governments.

It is a good piece of legislation. It sends a clear signal to all producers of throw-away products that they will be responsible for providing recycling programs for their products. And then it allows the government to move methodically, updating the legislation by adding one product category at a time. The producers have time to organize the programs.

This month the government did just that. It added more categories of electronics products to the regulation, giving the producers 18 months to get programs in place to take back small appliances, toys, radios, cameras and a whole long list of consumer electronic products that were not included in the regulation before. The new products are spelled out in a "schedule" in the regulation.

But the bad news is that the Liberal government did not include electronics packaging in the regulation, despite the fact that the Recycling Council of BC and others have sent letters urging them to do so.

This means that all the styrofoam, bubble wrap, plastic and cardboard that come in the new equipment you buy to replace the old one has no where to go.

The Liberal government failed to do what NDP Environment Minister Moe Sihota did in 1994, when his government oversaw the roll-out of a new regulation that required paint companies to take back old paint.

The paint companies tried to avoid taking back paint cans and pails, claiming that it wasn't their responsibility. Sihota simply amended the regulation so that it covered the paint packaging as well as the leftover paint. Today, the paint industry recycles tonnes of cans and pails as well as old paint. They don't like it much, but maybe that will prompt them to come up with containers that are refillable? easier to recycle?
Write to the Premier ( and ask:
Why wasn't packaging for electronics products included in the amended Recycling Regulation?

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