News

Newspapers ramp up recycle fee battle

Victoria resident John Hungar fears a proposed recycling fee on newspapers could cause irreparable damage to the struggling industry.  - Don Denton/News staff
Victoria resident John Hungar fears a proposed recycling fee on newspapers could cause irreparable damage to the struggling industry.
— image credit: Don Denton/News staff

Imminent changes to B.C. recycling rules could financially cripple local newspapers, says the president of the B.C. Yukon Community Newspaper Association.

Front-end recycling fees will soon be applied to businesses that produce packaging and printed paper, a move that will cost newspapers $6 million across the province, said Hugh Nicholson, B.C. Yukon Community Newspaper Association president.

“Newspapers are kind of the unique product in all this,” said Nicholson, a Nanaimo-based publisher with Glacier Media. “We’re not packaging, like Styrofoam or plastics … and we shouldn’t be lumped in with packaging companies.”

On May 19, industrial stewardship group Multi Material B.C. will assume responsibility for curb side blue box collection in Greater Victoria and 1.25 million B.C. households.

MMBC is requesting 20 cents per kilogram to recycle newsprint, while similar services in Ontario cost less than one cent per kilogram.

MMBC managing director Allen Langdon said the fees fully finance the program and ensure service for multi-family apartments and rural depots, in contrast to Ontario’s more limited focus on single-family homes.

He said B.C.’s successful container deposit system also means there’s less recyclable material left here for container stewards to collect and sell, so fees have to be higher to cover the system costs.

Newspaper owners can opt out of the program, but must then develop their own recycling measures. So far, newspapers have chosen the latter option while lobbying the province to re-examine the changes.

“We’re talking to some potential partners right now, but we’re optimistic the government will listen not only to ourselves, but to many businesses and municipalities. There’s a lot of fear about what will happen to recycling,” Nicholson said.

Recycling fees would cost Glacier “hundreds of thousands of dollars” annually on Vancouver Island alone, he added, and requests to sit down with provincial ministers have so far gone unmet.

Victoria resident John Hungar, a retired newspaper circulation manager, said he’s worried about any additional financial pressure on newspapers.

Hungar pointed to the January closure of the Kamloops Daily News as the beginning of a trend if the province doesn’t allow newspapers an exemption from recycling fees.

“People my age in particular like to read the paper,” Hungar said. “There are some on the verge of closing and I fear these fees could be a strikeout.”

Most newspapers in B.C. are owned by Glacier, Black Press (which owns the Victoria News) and Postmedia, although independent papers still exist and would likely be hit hardest by the changes, Nicholson said.

The Canadian Community Newspaper Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses and several other organizations are now ramping up a campaign, rethinkitbc.ca, to convince the province to reconsider its recycling regulations.

“B.C. has one of the best recycling plans in the country,” Nicholson said.

“It appears to be working very well, now government has decided for whatever reason to turn this over to private industry with very little information about where our recycling will end up. But we think this is a solution looking for a problem.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Surgical waits average five months in B.C.
 
Historic police charge books returned to VicPD after digital preservation
 
Big wheels
Flooding in Errington may be caused by intentionally clogged drain
 
Nanaimo police looking for suspected purse thief
 
Police to conduct roadside safety checks
Is a family getaway on your Christmas list?
 
Put on those sports jerseys for free recreational opportunities
 
Quinn-tessential Bachand

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 28 edition online now. Browse the archives.