WHEREAS recycling reduces the amount of waste going to landfill, and results in new, valuable uses for products otherwise at their end-of-life; and
WHEREAS local governments often must cover the costs of programs for collecting, processing, and marketing recyclable materials in Alberta with ratepayer dollars; and
WHEREAS extended producer responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle; and
WHEREAS waste management and recycling costs are also a significant challenge for rural municipalities with collection points for materials; and
WHEREAS when fully implemented, EPR shifts the costs and operational responsibilities for managing recycling systems from local governments to producers; and
WHEREAS there is currently an advocacy campaign among many organizations and government bodies, including the Recycling Council of Alberta, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, and individual municipalities, to encourage the Government of Alberta to implement EPR regulations;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta join the advocacy campaign to encourage the Government of Alberta to implement extended producer responsibility regulations.
Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a current topic of importance in waste management and recycling. Both the Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA) and Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) have released reports and information on the matter. A public policy report from RCA and overview of advocacy efforts from AUMA are attached in lieu of a written member background as they accurately describe the issue and existing advocacy campaign. As waste management and recycling are also integral to the operation of rural municipalities and this issue impacts rural municipal budgets and funding for recycling programs, we request that RMA become formally integrated in advocacy initiatives in all capacities necessary to encourage the Government of Alberta to implement EPR regulations.
Public Policy: Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging & Paper Products
Recycling Council of Alberta, 2019
Available at: https://recycle.ab.ca/about/public-policy/
Do you want to learn more about Canada’s current recycling industry, or Extended Producer Recycling Program?
Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, 2019
Waste Management Hub
Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, 2019
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. 2009. Canada-wide Action Plan on Extended Producer Responsibility. Available at: https://www.ccme.ca/files/Resources/waste/extended/pn_1499_epr_cap_e.pdf. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
Recycling Council of Alberta. 2019. Public Policy: Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for Packaging & Paper Products. Available at: https://recycle.ab.ca/about/public-policy/. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP)
RMA appreciates the Government of Alberta’s commitment to working with external stakeholders to enhance provincial recycling programs that work for all Albertans. RMA participated as a project partner in the Alberta Collaborative Extended Producer Responsibility Study (ACES) to provide the rural context for implementing an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) system in Alberta. The ACES study was funded by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance and the cites of Edmonton and Calgary. ACES outlines a made-in-Alberta vision for EPR for residential packaging and paper products. The study proposes that producers of packaging and paper products in Alberta manage both the financial and operational obligations of collecting their products and finding markets to recycle them.
In 2021, Alberta Environment and Parks announced the beginning of consultations with municipalities and industry leaders to develop an EPR program. The RMA participated in these engagement sessions and advocated for an EPR program that has a comparable level of service at a comparable cost in urban municipalities and rural municipalities. The service method and service level may differ due to the cost challenges of servicing large and sparsely-populated areas, but an effective EPR model must make recycling available in a way that is reasonably accessible to rural residents. In a recent meeting, the Minister of Environment and Parks indicated a goal of implementing an EPR system by mid-2022.
RMA has assigned this resolution a status of Accepted and will continue to work with the Government of Alberta and external stakeholder to provide the rural perspective so that a recycling program works for all Albertans.