Lacombe County has joined other central Alberta communities in urging the province to make manufacturers and importers pay for the disposal and recycling of the garbage they create.
Eight Canadian provinces have already adopted so-called extended producer responsibility policies, which shift the burden of dealing with garbage from taxpayers and municipalities to companies.
Under the system, manufacturers, producers and importers pay a premium to a third party — a government, non-profit organization or private business — to collect, sort and recycle products that have reached the end of their lifespan.
B.C. expects to save $115 million in waste collection and landfilling costs. Companies have responded to the extended producer responsibility initiatives by building into their prices the cost of disposing of or recycling their products.
Lacombe County’s environmental co-ordinator says in a report to council that such initiatives have increased recycling rates and reduced the amount of garbage ending up in landfills.
The system also led to smaller amounts of hazardous chemicals used in products, such as vehicles, when the policy was introduced in Japan and Sweden, says Ian Vander Meulen.
County council voted to send a letter to Environment Minister Jason Nixon encouraging the province to adopt extended producer responsibility-based waste management
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr voiced his support for the system when he appeared before county council recently to discuss issues of local concern.
Orr noted that extended producer responsibility costs are already built into product prices, so Albertans are already paying.
Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, which represents the province’s urban communities, has also expressed support for the new waste management approach, along with the cities of Red Deer, Calgary, Edmonton, Lacombe and Grande Prairie.