Raven cheers planned new recycling rules

Updating Yukon's recycling fee regime is a long time coming, says Joy Snyder, executive director of the Raven Recycling Society.

Updating Yukon’s recycling fee regime is a long time coming, says Joy Snyder, executive director of the Raven Recycling Society.

Last week the government announced proposed changes to recycling fees, including higher fees for beverage containers at the point of purchase and new fees for some tires, electronics and appliances.

The beverage container regulation advisory committee recommended similar action in 2006, 2009 and 2013, said Snyder.

“So for it to come forward now is wonderful, although slow.”

The action committee represents recyclers, pop wholesalers, retailers and community depots, she said.

Under the new proposed rules, the recycling fee for all beverage containers less than a litre would go up to 15 cents from 10. The refund would remain five cents. Containers for dairy and dairy alternatives would be included for the first time.

Yukon’s beverage container rules haven’t been updated since 1992, except to add Tetra Paks to the regime 10 years ago.

“When we came out with the beverage container regulations in 1992 the Yukon government was ahead of the game, but since then we’ve fallen behind,” said Snyder.

Beverage containers only cover about 13 per cent of recyclable materials, said Snyder.

“What us depots and processors would like to see is that the government brings on more programs to deal with more materials. For other recyclables, we’re still covering most of the cost to recycle that.”

Some things, like computers, printers, stereos, microwaves and vacuums, will have new fees attached to them as part of the proposed new rules.

“There’s so many other items that could be included in that, and we should be moving forward on that,” said Snyder.

People are happy to pay for recycling at the point of purchase, when they want to buy something, but not so much when they’re throwing it away, she said.

“By then it’s garbage, and you’re like, ‘Well, why do I have to pay for my garbage?’”

The other great thing about point-of-purchase fees is it forces producers to take the costs of recycling into account, said Snyder.

“He’s been happily making packaging, with great glee, and hasn’t paid a cost at all.”

But with new consumer fees, “He says, ‘Maybe I don’t want so much packaging, because it’s going to increase the cost of my product, and then people aren’t going to buy it.’”

The Yukon government will accept feedback on the proposed changes through Nov. 21. Details of the proposed fees and the online survey can be found on the Environment Yukon website.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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