Saturday, September 7, 2013

Trash talk to envelop B.C.

Get ready for a steady stream of trash talk in British Columbia.

While Metro Vancouver wants to build a $500 million "waste-to-energy" garbage incinerator by 2018, BC Liberal insiders like John Les and Dimitri Pantazopoulos have been hired as lobbyists by industry players to oppose it.

Metro Vancouver’s plan to force haulers to use its mixed waste facilities was defeated when the Zero Waste Committee voted 6-5 against a new bylaw on Sept. 5. The plan could be revised if the board strikes a task force. 

Now Multi-Material B.C., a society backed by manufacturers and retailers, is pushing municipalities to get on-board as it readies for a May 19, 2014 launch of a province-wide packaging and printed paper collection and recycling program. 
In 2011, the provincial government opted to give industry the responsibility for the $60 million to $100 million a year product packaging stewardship program. MMBC set a Sept. 16 deadline for local governments to opt-in to its private hauling program or accept a set fee from MMBC to carry on the status quo. 

According to an August report by the labour-backed Columbia Institute think-tank, 
"Port Moody calculated a 20% difference between the MMBC financial offer and the cost of delivering services. While not all municipalities have identified the same size gap, shortfalls between MMBC incentives and program costs will leave local governments to either pick up the balance of costs, reduce residential recycling programs, or turn recycling directly over to MMBC, a choice which offers no guarantees that services will be maintained
 at established levels."Some municipalities have concerns that the funding gap in MMBC offers could be compounded by what many see as unrealistic standards and punitive penalties for recycling ‘contamination.'"
CUPE B.C. secretary treasurer Paul Faoro told Metro Vancouver on Sept. 5, the “MMBC plan is designed from our perspective for industry, not for local government and not for public interest.”

City of Vancouver sanitation workers, represented by CUPE Local 1004, are buzzing. Some are even worried about the prospects of privatization. A staff report is expected Sept. 9 and an emergency public meeting is to be announced for Sept. 12 to decide the response of the Vision Vancouver dominated city council. 

It will ultimately cost consumers, but how much? Will B.C. be struggling with a new and complicated recycling tax? 

Stay tuned.

UPDATE (Sept. 11): After city hall closed for the day today, the agenda was finally published. Unless the plan changes, it will be a closed-door meeting.

Thursday, September 12, 2013 3:00 pm  
Council Chamber Third Floor, City Hall  
THAT Council will go into a meeting later this day, which is closed to the public, pursuant to Section 165.2(1) of the Vancouver Charter, to discuss matters related to paragraph:
(k) negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of an activity, work or facility that are at their preliminary stages and that, in the view of the Council, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the city if they were held in public.

However, an internal CUPE email from last Friday indicates that the issue to be discussed will be MMBC and recycling. 

From: "Justin Schmid" <>
To: "Dave Stephens" <>, "Michael McGahey" <>
Cc: "Meena Brisard" <>, "Steve Varty" <>
Sent: Friday, September 6, 2013 5:17:48 PM
Subject: Recycling Update

Hi Dave & Mike, 

Just wanted to give you a quick update on the MMBC & Recycling issue. 

Peter Judd and I will be coming to do a crew talk on Monday morning to give an update to everyone. 

Just to let you know, we have met with some key politicians on this issue and working to get things moving on this issue as much as we can. 

A report to council will be coming out on Monday and a special council meeting will be held on Thursday next week at which we will be presenting. 

In related news, there was an op-ed piece in the Sun today on the issue and in a couple other papers. I’ll bring some copies on Monday. 

See you on Monday, 


Justin Schmid 
CUPE National Representative 

CUPE was a very big funder of Vision Vancouver in 2011. The ruling party took-in $155,300 from CUPE BC, $42,000 from CUPE Local 1004, $36,700 from CUPE Local 15, $10,500 from CUPE Local 391, and $250 from CUPE Local 407. Add it all up and that's $244,750. 

No wonder CUPE can get a private audience with the politicians. 

UPDATE (Sept. 13):  Sneaky, sneaky. Vision Vancouver received this 13-page staff report dated Sept. 11 and held a closed-door meeting on Sept. 12

The report and the decision (but not minutes) were quietly released on the city website on Sept. 13. City council decided to continue to provide recycling services and is going to write a letter of complaint to the provincial government. Vision Vancouver is the same party that promised transparency and to engage citizens. And it has "Vision" in its name. But it did not make this decision in public or with public input.


September 12, 2013


Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging and Printed Paper

A.       THAT Council authorise the City Engineer to advise Multi Material BC (MMBC) that the City is interested in continuing to provide recycling services to the residents of the City of Vancouver consisting of:
i.       single-family (SF) curbside recycling;
ii.      multi-unit residential building (MURB) recycling; and
iii.     depot recycling at the Vancouver South Transfer Station (VSTS) and Vancouver Landfill (VL);
          under contract to MMBC subject to negotiation of a mutually agreeable contractual and financial arrangement.
B.       THAT the Mayor write the Minister of Environment requesting the Minister's urgent involvement in resolving the deficiencies in the Multi Material BC (MMBC) Collection Offer. Specific areas of concern include:
-        a lack of adequate input from municipalities and the need for an extension of the September 16, 2013 deadline MMBC has imposed;
-        deterioration in the level of service to the public during both the transitional phase and the ongoing implementation of the program;
-        a projected decrease in the level of recycling rates in the short-term and no firm requirement or timeline for increased recycling rates;
-        significant operational and financial risks to taxpayers as a result of both the market clearing price and proposed penalties in the current contract;
-        a lack of access to data about recycling rates.
C.       THAT the Council decision and relevant Administrative Report be released to the public as soon as possible.

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