Controversial new recycling regime lets some small businesses off the hook

The operators of a controversial new provincial recycling system have introduced more changes to reduce the cost and paperwork for certain small businesses.Six months ago, ...

The operators of a controversial new provincial recycling system have introduced more changes to reduce the cost and paperwork for certain small businesses.

Six months ago, small business owners were fuming over onerous reporting requirements, vague timelines and unknown costs.

The new system, run by an industry-led non-profit agency called Multi Material BC (MMBC), is meant to shift cost and responsibility for recycling to the businesses that produce packaging.

But critics from the small business community complained that the system seemed to have been designed only with large companies, like grocery store chains, in mind.

"[The rules] were onerous, unrealistic and out of proportion to the nature of the problem," said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, at a press conference February 4.

In September 2013, MMBC had announced that small businesses that make less than $750,000 in revenue would be exempt from reporting. The organization has now extended the exemptions.

Businesses will not have to measure and report their packaging, or pay recycling costs, if they meet the following criteria:

• bring in under one million dollars in annual revenues;
• produce under one tonne of packaging and printed paper supplied to B.C. residents; or
• operate as a single point of retail sale and are not supplied by or operated as part of franchise, a chain or under a banner.

Under the new rules, less than 3,000 out of 385,000 businesses in the province will have to participate in MMBC's program.

Allen Langdon, managing director of MMBC, said he did not think the exemptions would affect his organization's ability to run an effective recycling program.


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