Wealth comes with waste: Alberta must target environmental waste with new legislation

With Albertans sending 1,034 kg of waste per person to landfills annually – a number higher than any other Canadian jurisdiction, according to Alberta’s government data – it’s no wonder the province is seeking to stop all waste.

On Monday, the government announced that new legislation will be put forward, and if passed, the amending law on environmental protection and improvement will form the basis for the provincial government to implement a framework for extended producer responsibility (EPR) next year.

“We have historically been the richest province in the country, and as a result, wealth tends to come waste,” said Christina Seidel, CEO of the Alberta Recycling Council.

“We are high consumers because we have been wealthy and as a result we create a lot of waste.

“We are the only province that produces more than a ton of waste per person per year, and that’s something we really have to deal with.”

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The national average of waste produced per person is 710 kg per year, the province said.

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Basically, the EPR framework would create a provincial system for handling disposable plastics, packaging, paper products and hazardous and special products such as household pesticides and solvents.

According to a news release from the provincial government, it would shift the physical and economic role of collecting, sorting, treating and recycling waste to the industries that produce products instead of local governments and taxpayers.

“If you are basically a producer – whoever brings the product into the province – then you have to make sure that a certain percentage of that material is handled properly, ie. recycled, at the end of its life, ”Seidel explained.

The move would also increase recycling as a whole in Alberta, which Seidel says is good news all around. The increase will contribute about $ 1.4 billion to the economy and support about 13,300 jobs, Seidel said.

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“Right now, and for too long, municipalities and taxpayers have taken on the burden of collecting, sorting, treating and recycling waste,” said Environment and Park Secretary Jason Nixon.

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According to a press release, if adopted, the EPR will help Alberta move to a circular plastics economy and achieve one of the goals outlined in the Natural Gas Vision and Strategy for Alberta to become a North American center of excellence for plastic diversion and recycling by 2030.

The public are encouraged to provide comments and further input to help inform Alberta’s EPR framework by 15 December.

With files from Morgan Black, Global News

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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