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

Monday, January 21, 2013

Think outside the box

Dear NDP,

When your government comes into office, you are going to inherit a dreadful mess.

The new (MMBC) recycling program for packaging is a bad deal for the province and it's going to happen on your watch.

You are going to eat the consequences. There will be public dismay when word eventually gets out what a failed program it is, as it has on Ontario, where the performance has been "abysmal" or was it "dismal" in the words of a former political victim. All three parties have soiled their reputations by following the path being charted for us by  MMBC (see this CIELAP assessment).

What MMBC is trying to set up will be a bad deal for the economy. A bad deal for  small recycling businesses and their employees in our communities, who will have to cater to the corporate monopolist (MMBC) or leave the table. Existing recycling companies in our communities will lose their independence and the scope of their freedom to innovate.

It will be a worse deal for the potential new recycling companies in the communities in our province -- potential industry leaders -- that will never be formed, because this system will not allow new entrants.

It will be a bad deal for our kids, who will have to wait longer for change, for some good new idea to come along and heal the planet.

Sadly, our current ministry of environment lacks the institutional memory to recognize MMBC and throw them out, as the ministry of the day did a generation ago when OMMRI (godfather to MMBC) came calling. Our ministry let us down. They let the infection in because they didn't have the confidence or the imagination to see that we can do it our own way and do it better -- just as we did a generation ago when OMMRI was told to take a hike.

Who will save us? Who can we collaborate with?

The beer industry? Can we activate that industry (brand owners, brewery workers, LDB, beer drinkers) to show a different way? CAMPAIGN: get the LDB to mark their shelves to indicate which beers come in refillable bottles. This will expose the buried issue of the major brewers' control of the "bottle pool" as a weapon against the craft brewing industry. It will potentially open the way for a truly local bottle pool, or even regional bottle pools. The Proximity Principle will finally be enshrined as a guiding force in marketing.

The paper industry? Can we activate that industry (brand owners, mill workers, community newspapers) to show a different way? CAMPAIGN: get a local mill or converter or retailer to market a line of made-in-BC compostable paper foodware and food scraps wareThis will provide the new generation of young locavores the sensible consumer products they need to participate in a Zero Waste food system. It will help to level the playing field between our dying paper industry (with its solutions built with current carbon) and the petrochemical industry (with its oxymoronic "biodegradable plastics").

Can these industries organize themselves in our province and pursue the truly transformational changes that will become industry standard all over the world?

Or do they need facilitation from a new government, one backed by people who are prepared to pioneer made-in-BC solutions?


Andrew Eisenberg said...

I'm not familiar with the MMBC recycling program. Can you include some links for relevant information?

Helen said...

Here is a critique from a small business recycler on the Sunshine Coast:
The province is letting a single private company (a combine of trade associations representing producers of packaged products) control the entire recycling industry in British Columbia.