Buckerfield’s raises valid MMBC concerns

Bravo to Buckerfield’s.

Kelvin McCullough, CEO of Duncan-based Buckerfield’s, which has eight stores in B.C., including Nanaimo, Duncan and Parksville, says the company has no intention of paying for the provincial government’s plans to have Ontario’s Multi Materials B.C. take over its blue box recycling program May 19.

It’s always heartwarming to see David stand up to Goliath, and Buckerfield’s is one of many businesses who have decided to stand up against Premier Christy Clark’s heavy-handed move to dismantle a program that works, and works well, in favour of MMBC, a move that could be accompanied by job losses and will result in increased recycling costs for all concerned.

Even the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, which has unfortunately chosen a path that seems to automatically guarantee rubber-stamping government policy without first soliciting members who would be adversely affected, has acknowledged there are a number of legitimate concerns.

The B.C. chamber needs to remember it represents businesses in this province and should never be a pom-pom waving policy cheerleader for the provincial government, whether it says it is “free enterprise” or not.

The MMBC deal is causing concern for businesses, particularly the newspaper industry and companies that produce or distribute flyers.

The British Columbia Yukon Community Newspapers Association is strongly considering pulling out of the blue box program entirely and starting its own, which poses significant cost issues for the program moving forward. Newspaper is the most valuable recyclable in the box at $120 a ton. That loss in revenue would have to be made up somewhere, and that would be residential taxpayers and businesses.

As BCYCNA president Hugh Nicholson says: “Without newspaper recycling, the blue box programs would collapse. This is a Trojan horse, not a gift horse.” This shift to MMBC is part of a larger change in provincial regulations that would see the responsibility for managing the recycling of packaging and printed paper shift away from governments and taxpayers and on to industry and their consumers. As part of this new “producer-pay” model, businesses selling packaged goods or supplying printed paper have to now be legally and financially responsible for the costs of recycling.

We applaud Buckerfield’s for taking this stand and raising its voice above the chorus taking the provincial government to task for the change. Yes, it is going to be costly for business to implement, but it is taxpayers who will also be hard hit.

The May 19 start date is just around the corner. Let’s see how finely tuned the government’s hearing is to the marketplace.

Vancouver Island NewsMedia Group