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Council feels 'blackmailed' over recycling program

The City of Kamloops will not act as a contractor for the Multi Material B.C. program after council decided to opt out.
September 11, 2013 - 11:31 AM

KAMLOOPS – Not enough information has been provided by Multi Material B.C. about a program offering municipalities incentives to take on the role of contractor for a recycling program and city council is adamant they will not sign a contract without all the details.

Public works director Tracy Kyle says not knowing the details is a real issue but was still willing to recommend accepting the contract and negotiating the details.

Mayor Peter Milobar says the city spends about $90,000 on public education when it comes to recycling and the program is offering just 50 cents per household, though the fact the penalties and clauses are unknown causes him even more concern.

“How am I supposed to sign a contract that I don't even know what the clauses are?” Milobar says. “There's no way I'll be agreeing to it.”

Much of council feels the same way, with several councillors noting Kamloops is a key player in the province when it comes to recycling. While the program would open up options for other types of recyclables it would also limit what could be collected curbside. Many soft plastic and glass recyclables would have to be collected separately at a depot, which adds costs and potential contamination issues to the mix.

Currently Kamloops holds an average contamination rate of about 6.5 per cent, well above the allowed three per cent through the program. Fines could be in the range of $5,000 per contaminated truck load and with about 12 truck loads of recyclables every day, fines could become a significant cost.

“I hate being blackmailed,” Councillor Ken Christian says. “If you don't do this now, you're out of the game.”

Be out of the game is what city council has chosen at this point. With all except Coun. Pat Wallace voting to opt out of the program Kamloops will now have to figure out the logistics of the program if Multi Material B.C. finds another contractor to collect packaging and printed paper next year.

“Would they try to be one block ahead of our vehicles?” Coun. Donovan Cavers asks in apparent frustration. “Tell them to go recycle their agreement.”

Changes coming in May 2014 will see producers responsible for ensuring their recyclable waste gets out of the waste stream and Multi Material B.C. is part of their solution. The not-for-profit group is offering membership to producers and other stewards for the collection of these products under a stewardship plan and is offering municipalities a chance to sign on as contractors before looking to other groups for private collection.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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