The Village of Alix will register for a new recycling program that includes rather important changes throughout the province. The decision was made at the Nov. 1 regular meeting of council.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White presented councillors with a report on the “extended producer responsibility” (EPR) regulatory framework introduced by the Government of Alberta.
White wanted to know if councillors would approve Alix registering for this program and also provided councillors with a report from Alberta Municipalities Association (AMA).
“This notification provides high-level updates about changes coming for municipalities and recycling,” stated the AMA report which described the opening of registrations for the EPR.
“EPR is exactly what it sounds like,” noted the report succinctly. “Currently, producers sell products. When products reach their end of life they become waste, waste that is managed by municipalities. EPR extends the responsibility of end-of-life products back to producers.”
Coun. Barb Gilliat, Alix council’s representative to the regional waste commission, further explained ER means if you produce something you have a responsibility to recycle it now.
The CAO chimed in that essentially it means producers will bear responsibility for recycling products they make. White explained phase 1 of EPR will begin April of 2025 and that lots of other provinces already have programs like this in place.
“According to what we are being told, communities participating in the EPR program will no longer have to pay for recycling and service levels to residents would remain the same,” stated White’s memo.
The CAO went on to explain currently the Village of Alix sees between $32,000 to $34,000 of recycling costs billed which are then collected from village residents.
Coun. Tim Besuijen asked how EPR will be managed, to which Gilliat responded Alberta Recycling will manage it. She also pointed out the recycling station at the waste transfer site is Lacombe County’s responsibility and doesn’t involve Alix. Gilliat stated the village is only responsible for curbside service.
Besuijen stated, as he read through the reports, EPR sounded like a good idea but wondered how this would affect the village’s current recycling contractor. The CAO responded all indications are that EPR will assume existing recycling contracts but White pointed out this program is still in its very early stages.
Mayor Rob Fehr noted that people he’s talked to want to know if costs or services will be changed by EPR.
Coun. Gilliat wondered if an outfit produces a tin can or a fertilizer bag, does the outfit have to take these products back at the end of their lives?
“To me, that sounds very expensive,” said Gilliat.
Besuijen wondered how costs will be passed along.
The CAO stated that it sounded to her that such concerns will be handled at a high level within each producer. She added that EPR may affect the general public at the retail til.
The Mayor agreed. “Either way, the consumer’s going to pay,” said Fehr.
The CAO noted that the Village of Alix doesn’t have to register for EPR and could continue to bill residents, but as councillors already noted the general public will likely bear the costs of recycling from producers as well.
Councillors unanimously passed a resolution that the Village of Alix register for the EPR before Dec. 31, 2023.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter