The regional district has joined the city of Prince George and many other local governments in turning down the opportunity to handle recycling next spring.
On Thursday afternoon, Regional District of Fraser-Fort George directors voted to refuse providing drop-depot collection on behalf of Multi Material BC (MMBC). MMBC is the group representing the producers of packaging and printed paper that are provincially mandated to take stewardship of those products as of May 2014.
The board reviewed the financial incentive and contract from MMBC but determined the risk to the regional district was too great.
"According to MMBC they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. The public just can't afford the slicer," said Terry Burgess, chair of the board's environment and parks committee. "MMBC is funded by the producers, which in turn is the consumer. And if we were to opt in, we would hit the same consumer, now taxpayer, once again."
With the regional district not entering into a deal with MMBC, it is now up to MMBC to pursue drop depot collection services through the private sector.
Currently, RDFFG operates 17 different multi-material drop depots throughout the region, accepting newspaper, mixed paper products, milk jugs and cans.
Prince George Coun. Cameron Stolz chaired the regional district's committee that examined the recycling recommendations. He stressed that everyone involved is in favour of recycling, but just not in the proposed format.
Stolz said he found it interesting MMBC was going on a "very proactive media campaign blitz" to tell residents "what a great deal that they're offering."
"The hard truth of it is what they're proposing is nothing short of a complete download on taxpayers with us fully paying for the entire service and it's just not acceptable what's being done," he said.
Coun. Dave Wilbur said he hoped there was the possibility of an attitude adjustment on the part of MMBC from so many communities turning down the offer.
"The general consensus is this is an epic fail on MMBC's part," said Prince George mayor Shari Green, who cited the strong opposition the offer received in Kamloops this week. "I haven't heard of any one beating down their door to sign up."
The city of Pitt Meadows also turned down the offer and in a letter to the environment minister, copied to the regional district board, asks that the minister "intervene and institute a process that is collaborative with local governments."
During next week's Union of B.C. Municipalities' conference, regional district members will also be meeting with the Environment Minister Mary Polak to discuss their concerns with MMBC and stewardship programs.