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Environment

New Brunswick recycling initiative ‘puts onus on producers’

WATCH: New Brunswick says industries that produce packaging and printed paper should take responsibility for recycling it. Megan Yamoah has that report.

In response to a growing amount of heavy paper and plastic packaging in landfills, New Brunswick is developing a plan to push the cost of recycling materials back to the brands that make them.

The province announced it is developing a new Extended Producer Responsibility Program on Friday.

“It puts the onus on large producers to reduce their packaging and paper products,” said Jeff Carr, New Brunswick’s minister of environment and local government.

READ MORE: City of Kingston seeking public input to reach 65% waste diversion goal

Roughly 80 per cent of Canadians are already covered by extended producer responsibility programs for packaging and printed paper. Now, New Brunswick is looking to join Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

It’s a move being welcomed by New Brunswick’s union of municipalities.

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“It responds to growing demands from our citizens to reduce waste in our community,” said Margo Cragg, executive director of the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick.

“Most importantly its saves municipality’s money without increasing taxes or costing the province revenues.”

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Why you need to recycle your old electronics properly
Why you need to recycle your old electronics properly

The plan would put heavy paper and plastic packaging under the designated materials regulation — into the category with paint, oil and glycol.

Recycle New Brunswick will oversee the program.

The Retail Council of Canada says they would like a seat at the planning table and new programs should be designed to cooperate with programs in other provinces.

“Retailers are used to dealing with those programs, so given that a lot of members are chain retailers we have experience in dealing with those programs. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and do something completely different for New Brunswick,” said Jim Cormier, the Atlantic director of the Retail Council of Canada.

READ MORE: City of Saskatoon changing list of acceptable recycling items

The plan will be finalized and businesses will be consulted on potential impacts over the next six months.