+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 8-18S

Amendments Required for Provincial Recycling Regulations

Date:
March 20, 2018
Expiry Date:
April 1, 2021
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
Strathcona County
District:
5 - Edmonton East
Year:
2018
Convention:
Spring
Category:
Environment
Status:
Sent to Government
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

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:

  • streamline Alberta’s regulatory framework, while reducing solid waste;
  • provide options to shift end-of-life management responsibilities from taxpayers to producers and consumers;
  • consolidate Alberta’s existing recycling regulations under one regulation – the Designated Materials Recycling Regulation;
  • remove specified maximum environmental fees from regulation while still ensuring consumer protection from excessive fees;
  • expand the electronics program to include small appliances, audio/visual equipment, telecommunications equipment and power tools; and
  • expand the used oil materials recycling program to include automotive anti-freeze/coolant containers and diesel exhaust fluid containers;
Operative Clause:

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.

Member Background:

Alberta has a number of successful recycling stewardship programs, including the following:

  • Beverage Container Recycling Program (1972)
  • Hazardous Waste Legislation (1985)
  • Tire Recycling Program (1994)
  • Used Oil Materials Recycling program (1997)
  • Electronics Recycling Program (2004)
  • Paint and Paint Containers Recycling Program (2007)

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:

  • municipalities subsidizing the paint program by about 40-60%;
  • challenges for municipalities to secure reliable collection services for the tire program;
  • areas of the province where oil collection has been discontinued leaving Albertans without an option for environmentally safe disposal; and
  • the continued expectation from Albertans that their municipality will provide diversion services in their community despite difficult circumstances.

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 Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Provincial Ministries:
Environment and Parks
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