Multi-Material Recycling Program going forward

Multi-Material Recycling Program going forward

As concern for renewable resources continues to grow, so do the expanding efforts for the recycling programs in Saskatchewan. The new Multi-Material Recycling Program (MMRP) finally has a set launch date of Jan. 1, 2015.

Essentially, the MMRP will change the financial structure of current recycling programs. Right now, residents pay for the entire recycling program through payments to their municipality. This new program would transfer 75 per cent of the cost of collecting and processing household paper and packaging to brand owners and first importers, called "industry stewards."

"This is a program that's been talked about for many years," said Shelly Nicolle-Phillips, a representative for the Ministry of Environment. "The ministry worked with various stakeholders for various regulations to develop the program."

The industry stewards refer to the people or organizations that produce the household packaging and paper. As such, the government charged the industry with putting together a product management program for these materials in order to shift some of the costs to them.

"The policy approach that we used within the government is that the industry that produces the waste, pays for the waste," said Nicolle-Phillips. "This way they can share some of the cost with municipalities."

After numerous revisions, the program was finally approved by the Ministry of Environment and will soon be ready for implementation.

"Two months from now is approximately when the industry people feel they'll have an office ready and can start negotiating contracts with the municipalities," said Marlon Killaby, another representative with the Ministry of Environment. "It's a pretty simple process except for the number of municipalities that will want to participate."

Humboldt already has a recycling program through REACT Waste Management, which allocates a number of green bins off 4th Avenue. There is also the SARCAN bottle depot, which accepts certain items in exchange for a smallrebate.

"The municipalities will be responsible for the collection, not the industry stewards," said Killaby. "As far as the government is concerned, it's up to the stewards because the government is out of the picture."

Nevertheless, the program itself is designed to be almost self-reliant. While most recycling programs are costly in terms of collection and processing, this program is slightly different in that most of the costs will be on the industries.

Eventually, the hope is that all the municipalities will have efficiently running recycling programs. While the province doesn't set targets for recycling like other communities, they do encourage people to do it as much as possible.

"We're please to see the MMRP go forward, provide a longer source of sustainable funding, support communities that have existing programs, and those that want to launch new ones," said Nicolle-Phillips. "It's exciting to see that go forward."

[Source: Humboldt Journal. Original article.]