Part of a series examining waste management programs across Canada.
Saskatchewan — two shuffles forward, one shuffle back
Change takes time. Putting new programs in place, getting everyone to (sort of) agree, approving regulatory changes, always takes longer than impatient people like me think it should.
But slow progress is not the same as no progress. After several years in development, Saskatchewan’s provincial regulations on household paper and packaging were passed in February. A new program is expected to be implemented in January 2015 that will result in industry covering up to 75% of municipal net costs of recycling residential packaging and printed paper. This will help out municipalities, especially in smaller communities who had cut or reduced recycling programs because they couldn’t afford to continue.
Another victory — following some of the other provinces, we have added antifreeze, antifreeze containers and diesel exhaust fluid containers to the used oil materials recycling program starting January 2014. It’s good to have a solution for antifreeze, it’s such toxic product. The other Saskatchewan recycling programs (for scrap tires, electronics, paint, beverage containers) continue to be tweaked behind the scenes, making them a bit more effective, a bit more efficient, it’s progress.
A flurry of activity around recycling agricultural plastics (grain bags, twine, net wrap, silage wrap) seems to have cooled off. Quite a few of the little duckies are lined up: a pilot program established last year has been overwhelmed with grain bags after this fall’s bumper crop; draft regulations have been prepared; industry created a plan for how a provincial program might work, but … not everyone’s happy just yet, so things have stalled for a while. Count this one as a shuffle back.
Shuffling forward is work on a program for household hazardous wastes (HHW). The province funded a consultation in the fall of 2013 and draft regulations are being prepared. The plan is for an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program, funded and managed by industry, similar to our current programs for scrap tires, electronics, paint and used oil. We’re looking forward to a solution for HHW since the only consumers with options are those lucky enough to live in one of the few municipalities willing to shoulder the expense of providing a recycling/disposal solution for them (and even those options are often only once a year).
Looking ahead, there are many areas yet to tackle: more electrical and electronic products, construction and demolition materials, organic waste … shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
About this guest blogger:
Joanne Fedyk has been the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council for 22 years. The SWRC promotes waste reduction for all sectors: business, government, organizations and the general public. It keeps a database of recycling programs for the whole province, provides composting education, and organizes events for the recycling industry. Joanne’s educational background is in Home Economics, she holds a M.Sc. in Family Economics from the U of S.