IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT AUMA advocate for the Government of Alberta to:
- expand the current recycling programs,
- establish robust EPR regulations for paper and packaging, and
- work with AUMA to establish a modern recycling framework that sets Alberta on the path towards comprehensive EPR policies.
WHEREAS the purpose of municipalities is to foster the well-being of the environment and to provide services that are necessary or desirable, such as waste management, as per Part 1 Section 3 of the Municipal Government Act;
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has authority to enact Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) paper and packaging regulations under Part 9 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act;
WHEREAS EPR paper and packaging regulations incentivize producer to reduce paper and packaging waste, consistent with environmental and sustainability goals;
WHEREAS robust EPR paper and packaging regulations shift the responsibility and costs of recycling from local government to producers; and
WHEREAS recycling provides more than just environmental benefits. It creates jobs at every step in the recycling process. Collecting, transporting, and processing all need people and equipment to make sure scrap tires, electronics, paint, oil, paper and packaging materials are safely handled and recycled.
AUMA is already calling on municipalities throughout Alberta to advocate for the expansion of the provincial recycling program. Its campaign to modernize Alberta’s recycling regulatory framework asking AUMA members to send a letter of support to their Members of Legislative Assembly. Currently, there are 35 municipalities that have contacted their MLA. In May 2019, the Minister of Environment and Parks shared that he is interested in exploring program expansion.
In late 2018, AUMA and the City of Calgary worked together on a Notice of Motion advocating for an EPR paper and packaging program in Alberta. There are 31 municipal councils that have passed the Notice of Motion, about 70 per cent of Alberta residents call these 31 municipalities home.
Alberta is the only province in Western Canada that does not have EPR paper and packaging regulations. EPR shifts the cost of managing recyclable materials from municipalities to producers (think Canadian Tire, London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, Proctor and Gamble, Wal-Mart, etc.). Because so many producers already operate recycling programs in other provinces, producers are already incorporating the costs of EPR in their national product pricing. This means Albertans are paying for recycling twice and paying for recycling programs elsewhere. In 2016, producers provided more than $367 million to fund other provincial EPR paper and packaging programs. Alberta received $0. According to the Recycling Council of Alberta, an EPR paper and packaging program would save Alberta municipalities between $65 to $70 million annually.
In 2013, the Government of Alberta conducted public consultations on proposed designated material recycling regulations. The summary report of those consultations documented strong support for designated material recycling and EPR paper and packaging regulations. Respondents called for further work on implementing enhanced designated material recycling/EPR policy.
Despite the decisive responses from municipal governments, business and industry associations and the general public, the then-ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development did not implement any recommendations from the report.
Alberta municipalities should not be burdened by the provincial government’s continued lack of action. It is time for the Government of Alberta to make producers responsible for their paper and packaging and work with Alberta Recycling to make provincial recycling programs more sustainable.
AUMA is asking the Alberta government to step into its leadership role in environmental protection and sustainability, for the betterment of future generations. Alberta can draw on the success of other jurisdictions to ensure a smooth implementation.
The Government of Alberta can use this resolution as evidence of municipal support for a robust EPR program.
As indicated in the background, this resolution aligns with AUMA’s existing advocacy efforts.