Kitimat turns down MMBC recycling offer

he District of Kitimat has declined the offer from Multi-Material BC.

The District of Kitimat has declined the offer from Multi-Material BC to be given a financial incentive to pick up printed paper and packaging material as part of a province-wide recycling plan.

Councillors had until this month to decide whether to accept the program, which would have meant curbside collection of the recyclable, however a lot of questions and unclear costs meant they may have been walking into a lot of financial burdens.

“We want to be doing the recycling, I think it’s very important, but under the proposed plan from Multi Material BC, it’s just not worth it,” said councillor Corinne Scott.

Multi Material BC is a non-profit group which was formed to implement these recycling changes.It’s part of a province-wide program that shifts the cost of recycling from taxpayers, to the consumers and producers.

Communities which already provide curbside garbage collection were offered the opportunity to take part in the program, which goes into action May 19, 2014.

For the District it would mean $137,000 to collect the recycling, but the estimate on expenses came out between $195,000 and $200,000.

Plus there were a number of requirements that, if not met, would result in hefty fines.

Although councillor Mario Feldhoff repeated a conclusion from the City of Prince George that there may have been $2 million in potential fines if certain rules were not followed, MMBC managing director Allen Langdon clarified that MMBC would cap fines at $120,000 and 24 loads.

Langdon said there are three main categories for penalties including contamination, labour disruption, and late reporting of services.

“It’s important to producers because they are the ones who are funding this program,” Langdon added.

“What they say is that ‘we understand we are responsible for our material, but we don’t want to have to pay for a bunch of stuff that isn’t printed paper or packaging.’”

Langdon also wants to assure member service providers—the municipalities and private companies who will have to work together to see recycled material through the processing chain—that penalties won’t be given out will-nilly.

“There’s a pretty extensive process in A) determining if there is a problem, B) verifying if in fact it is a problem, and C) working with the collector in question, if it’s a local government, in developing a remediation plan to address the issues. If the plan works then I don’t think we have an issue,” he said.

District of Kitimat staff noted that MMBC, under the terms of the offered contract, could cancel the arrangement with 180 days notice without cause.

So Kitimat administration was concerned that if they invested the capital, which would include a $250,000 collection truck, there was no assurance the contract would continue long-term.

In their motion councillors did suggest to MMBC that they develop a recycling depot in Kitimat to collect the products. (KUTE does not have the capacity to handle the volume of household material that would be collected, in addition to the commercial waste they already collect.)

Mario Feldhoff said that staff should come back in the future with a report that fleshes out the concept of a local recycling depot that they could possibly send to MMBC as a counter-proposal.

Langdon has told the Sentinel that once the contracts were sorted out for collection the organization would look into receiving proposals for the post-collection side of the process.