The report referenced in the article “Report says Canadian packaging EPR is failing to deliver,” published April 2 on the Resource Recycling website, contains a number of inaccuracies and allegations that need to be addressed.
As the article notes, the report’s author and sponsors are opposed to extended producer responsibility (EPR) proposals in the United States. To support their opposition, they have produced a misleading assessment of the British Columbia EPR program for packaging and paper products.
Claims that the Recycle BC program lacks transparency are unfounded. All of the program’s published financial and recycling data is subject to third-party audit and assurance as required by the provincial government. Further, nearly two-thirds of the report’s citations reference public information provided by Recycle BC and its partner Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance, including reports on stakeholder consultations on the Recycle BC program plan, providing further evidence of the program’s transparency to stakeholders.
It is also disappointing that the report’s author made no effort to contact either organization for responses to his questions and concerns about program performance and costs. Nor did the author choose to cite findings of The Smart Prosperity Institute, a clean economy research institute and think tank at the University of Ottawa, which released a February 2019 report explaining the role of EPR in minimizing plastic wastes and noting that British Columbia “achieves some of the highest recycling rates in Canada.”
Recycle BC reported a 75% recovery rate in its 2017 annual report based on collected and reported tonnages of material. Its 2018 Program Plan, posted online for consultation prior to the final submission to the government, provides current recovery rates and targeted rates for the following materials: paper, plastic (rigid and flexible), metal and glass.
Local governments in British Columbia have the choice of either having recycling collection delivered directly by Recycle BC or retaining their collection systems and being paid a fee to perform collection services under contract to Recycle BC. Under this approach, local government costs for collection are either fully or fairly compensated, based on market studies, data sharing and consultation.
The first five years of Recycle BC’s operation have demonstrated that EPR is an effective and efficient approach to the management of packaging and paper products. The program is committed to continued improvement that will provide value and results for all its stakeholders.
David Lefebvre is director of public affairs at Recycle BC.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by Resource Recycling, Inc. If you have a subject you wish to cover in an op-ed, please send a short proposal to [email protected] for consideration.