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WHEREAS in 2013, Alberta Environment and Parks completed an extensive consultation on the development of a new recycling regulation that would include the necessary regulatory amendments to existing programs to ensure long term sustainability; and
WHEREAS the result of the consultation was a proposed Designated Materials Recycling Regulation for decision makers’ review that included several changes to Alberta’s existing regulatory framework for recycling materials; and
WHEREAS the proposed changes were intended to:
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) advocate to the Government of Alberta to make the changes outlined under the 2013 proposed Designated Materials Recycling Regulation.
Alberta has a number of successful recycling stewardship programs, including the following:
Despite the success of these programs, Alberta has the highest per capita waste disposal rate of any province in Canada. In the past, the Government of Alberta had set a goal to reduce the provincial per capita waste disposal rate to 500 kg per person per year by 2010. This goal has not been achieved, nor has the Government of Alberta set new targets or programs to assist municipalities in achieving higher diversion rates from landfills. In 2014, the per capita disposal rate for Alberta was 981 kg per person (Stats Canada), with a provincial diversion rate of only 16%.
In 2013, the City of Red Deer put forward a resolution for regulatory changes. In 2014, the government response indicated that the Province was considering several changes and would engage municipalities when the Province determined its next steps. As of today, the Government of Alberta has yet to take any of the needed steps to resolve this issue.
This issue affects all municipalities in Alberta that provide collection points for materials covered under the province’s programs.
With the exception of the beverage container recycling program, municipalities across Alberta are the collection point for these programs, and thus are the connection between the Province’s regulations and Alberta residents.
Through the recycling fees that are collected at point of purchase for all of these materials, these programs were originally intended to fully fund collection, transportation and recycling. These fees are set in regulation, making it difficult for the stewardship organizations to adjust their programs based on economic fluctuations. As a result, municipalities are left to subsidize these programs in their local communities.
Some economic, environmental and social impacts include:
Expansion of the existing provincial recycling programs would also assist with waste diversion. For example, many municipalities are already recycling, at their own cost, additional electronic items (i.e. microwaves, power tools, entertainment equipment, etc.) and antifreeze containers that are not part of the province’s current lists.
Provincial programs are being strained financially, adding extra stress on municipalities. It is the right time for the Province to make these regulatory amendments, which would represent an important first step in enhancing Alberta’s waste reduction record.
RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
Alberta Environment and Parks
Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) is committed to working with stakeholders to enhance provincial recycling programs. The ministry intends to continue efforts to study other jurisdictional practices to ensure meaningful solutions are created and opportunities to increase Alberta’s recycling efforts are sought.
In the meantime, AEP has worked on ways to enhance our existing recycling efforts through the government-wide review of Agencies, Boards, and Commissions (ABCs). By bringing together recycling programs for tires, electronics, paint, and used oil materials under one management board (Alberta Recycling), the government can act more efficiently and effectively to support Albertans in their efforts to recycle.
AEP is fulfilling the goals of the ABC review by streamlining and saving administrative costs on behalf of Albertans, so that we can free-up more resources for recycling.
Alberta Environment and Parks have announced a commitment to working with stakeholders, including RMA to enhance provincial recycling programs and an interest in shifting to an Extended Producer Responsibility System. RMA was a project partner on the Alberta Collaborative Extended Producer Responsibility Study (ACES) which outlines a made in Alberta vison for Extended Producer Responsibility. The report was distributed to the Minister of Environment and Parks, however, little information is currently known on the status of this review. The Government of Alberta has approved a two-year electronics pilot project which could see an additional 24,600 tonnes of electronics diverted from landfills. The Alberta Recycling Authority (ARMA) is leading the project and is currently in the planning phase to develop the pilot framework that will include the procurement of external expertise to support planning, implementation and execution, stakeholder engagement and a communications program. The project is expected to start in August 2020.
While the pilot is a positive development in improving Alberta’s recycling practices, At this current time, the majority of the recommendations linked to the Designated Materials Recycling Regulation are not implemented. RMA has assigned this resolution a status of Intent Not Met.
RMA is active on the Agriculture Plastics Recycling Group (APRG) which recently was awarded $1,000,000 to initiate a three-year agriculture plastics recycling program. RMA appreciates the Government of Alberta’s recognition of this important initiative and will continue to work with the government to see to it that a permanent solution to the end-of-life management of agriculture plastics can be found.