To encourage recycling across the province, the Ministry of Environment plans to increase producer responsibility by strengthening the guidelines in a variety of sectors by introducing a Multi-Material Recycling Program (MMRP).
This program was detailed by Chris Potter, Waster Management Coordinator from the Ministry of Environment, to residents during the third session of the Weyburn Communities in Bloom Environmental Lecture Series, held at the Weyburn Public Library on Apr. 20.
This method will encourage producers and consumers to take responsibility of the full costs of a product, including the end of life costs. "We want to drive changes in the decisions consumers make about which products they purchase and how products are packages," said Potter during her presentation.
The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) will shift thinking from 'Cradle to Grave', where most products are discarded into community landfills, to 'Cradle to Cradle', encouraging consumers to reuse and recycle these products.
Currently the province runs several EPR programs, including a waste electronic equipment program, scrap tire management program, paint stewardship program, rechargeable batters and cell phone recycling program, and a unified dairy recycling system.
Particularly for Weyburn, the Wor-Kin Shop operates under the provincial SARCAN program and aids by accepting paper and cardboard, metal, beverage containers, milk jugs, electronics and paint. Also, the Weyburn Fire Hall operates Call2Recycle for rechargeable batteries and cell phones.
The Multi-Material Recycling Program will expand on the services offered by the Wor-Kin Shop and potentially other programs run in Weyburn. Parts of this plan include a study ongoing to control grain bag waste, a household hazardous waste program (which Weyburn had taken part in the pilot program), and a multi-material recycling program for residents.
"The plan for the MMRP is to have industry pay 75 per cent of the costs and encourage municipalities to pay 25 per cent," explained Potter. "The plan will include all residential paper and packaging and provincial governance through stewardship organizations. The municipalities can decide on collection type, with funding provided only to an appropriate level."
Consultations on this plan will be taking place in early May, with written feedback and a consultation report issued by the end of May. Regulations will be finalized and approved by the Ministry in June and July, and an industry program plan will be developed from July to November. The program will be implemented throughout communities from November to May, 2011, with regulation enforcement commencing on June 1, 2011.
Potter explained what the program might offer in Weyburn after the commencement date. "There will be an expanded SARCAN depot program for a number of communities, with potential curbside collection services offered to those municipalities with over 25,000 residents. Through this program the Ministry wants to increase our recovery rates and increase access to recycling."
The MMRP will obligate stewards of paper and packaging to find sustainable funding mechanisms so that the full cost of the product (including its end of life cost) is considered on the price. "The Ministry is working to reduce municipalities' costs dramatically by driving change at the industry level," said Potter. "Through this program, our estimated achievable recovery rates will be 65 per cent or higher, and it will create more effective and efficient recycling for residents in the province."