Letters to the Editor

Recycling fees need adjusting

To the Editor,

The latest fee/tax for recycling includes CFL and LED energy saving bulbs that B.C. Hydro is so keen for us to use.

While I am all for recycling, the current system in this province leaves much to be desired. The charge on each item is set arbitrarily and ranges from more than 27 per cent of the purchase price to less than .06 per cent (plus 12 per cent HST). That seems to be unfair at the high end and too low at other.

To make matters worse, this levy can be included in the advertised price of the item or it can be added at the checkout with no warning or notification in advertising or signage.

When you see the price of any item you have no idea which it’s going to be. We have just managed to get truth in advertising for airline pricing, why is the recycling community going in the opposite direction?

The second problem with the current system is the amount is set by category, and does not reflect the actual recycling cost of any given item. Therefore manufacturers have no incentive to design products that are easy and cheap to recycle.

Although an item can only be recycled once, the recycling fee is charged a second time when you buy a refurbished item.

Since reuse is better than recycling, refurbished items should not have the levy applied again.

What we need to do is completely redesign the financing of the recycling system. The charge should be included in the price of the item and should reflect the actual cost of recycling that item.

This would retain ‘truth in advertising’ and, with such an incentive, manufacturers will quickly move to producing  goods that are easy and cheap to recycle. In addition, refurbished items should be exempt to encourage reuse.

The current recycling fee is just a badly designed tax. The B.C. government has outsourced its design and collect to industry in the hope that consumers won’t notice.

Consumers should be up in arms demanding that this recycling fee be recycled.

Steen Petersen


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