Progress continues to be made across Canada with respect to government initiatives on the reduction and recycling of solid waste.
Newfoundland’s new Act
Newfoundland has implemented its new Waste Management Act and Waste Management Regulation, which will authorize its Multi-Material Stewardship Board to propose and implement new waste management programs. The board’s role was previously restricted to the management of the beverage container recovery system in Newfoundland. The new legislation will replace the Packaging Materials Act and the Beverage Container Control Regulations. A used oil and used tire stewardship program are being discussed. Under the former, retailers would be required to accept the return of used oil, or to contract a used oil facility within a specific distance of the retail location.
Nova Scotians drink milk
In Nova Scotia, the Department of the Environment, the province’s dairy industry and municipalities have developed an agreement to improve the recovery of milk cartons for recycling. The Atlantic Dairy Council, which represents the province’s four dairies, will contribute funds based on the tonnage of milk cartons collected and processed through municipal Blue Bag recycling programs. The dairy industry will also print promotional messages on the side of milk cartons that encourage re- cycling and composting and discourage litter. This agreement is expected to increase the recovery rate for milk cartons from the current 25 per cent to 60 per cent.
New Brunswickers prefer pop
In New Brunswick, the recently released discussion paper Waste Reduction Diversion in New Brunswick reviews a variety of legislative and policy changes to environmental legislation intended to reduce the volume of waste generated. The paper reviews the roles and responsibilities of government, solid waste commissions and the private sector, and discusses the future of solid waste management.
The paper refers to possible amendments to the Beverage Containers Act and regulations thereunder which are designed to facilitate expansion of the deposit-return system. The paper also recommends that the ministry should amend policies or pass laws to assist local solid waste commissions, and that it should adopt an environmentally responsible procurement policy to use purchasing power to reduce waste. Finally, the paper points out that recycling can only be self-sustaining when producers choose recycled materials for their products and packaging and that governments can encourage this by requiring legislated “mandatory recycled content” in certain products and packaging.
Tread carefully in Quebec
In Quebec, progress is on the horizon with respect to used tires by virtue of proposed amendments to two regulations under the Environment Quality Act. These amendments will prohibit the accumulation and storage of used tires except for reuse, recycling or energy conversion purposes, in which case such sites must be established and operated pursuant to conditions that are intended to ensure public safety and protection of the environment. Those with a permit for a permanent used-tire storage site will be allowed to continue to accumulate used tires for the remainder of the term of their permit, but only with respect to tires originating in the province. Permanent storage sites are to be cleared of tires and restored to their original condition by December 31, 2008 and until such time must comply with prescribed standards. The proposed amendments also prohibit the burying of used tires.
The Quebec Regulation Respecting Used Tire Storage will be revised to apply to any person or municipality which stores used tires in an open-air site that contains at least 2,000 used tires or 136 cubic metres of used tires. This is an increase from the current amount of 1,000 used tires or 68 cubic metres of used tires. The establishment or enlargement of a storage site will be prohibited and those storing used tires will be required to submit a fire prevention and emergency measures plan to the environment ministry. The revisions also require that a guarantee of $2 per tire (up to $100,000) be provided to the ministry.
The Quebec Regulation Respecting Solid Waste will be amended to prohibit landfill sites from accepting used tires. The current scheme allows a sanitary landfill site to accept, on a daily basis, a quantity of non-pulverized tires not exceeding one per cent of the total volume of solid waste deposited daily. The amendments will prohibit the operator of a dried materials disposal site or an in-trench disposal site from accepting used tires. The proposed revisions also increase fines for violations.
B.C. bottle bill battle
Finally, in British Columbia a new consumer recycling fee faces strong resistance from a number of different groups, including environmental groups. Encorp Pacific — a non-profit corporation responsible for managing non-alcoholic beverage containers recovered in B.C.’s deposit-return system — has introduced the fee. In the past, commodity revenues, unredeemed deposits and fees paid by beverage brand owners have covered the cost of running the depot system, but the user fee is apparently now needed due to increased operational costs. The user fee is between one and seven cents per container. (See editorial in the April/May edition, page 4.)