November 22, 2004

New rules will help Quebec municipalities fund recycling programs

Two new regulations are intended to help Quebec municipalities fulfill their obligations relating to selective collection and the implementation of management plans for residual materials. Both regulations provide for funding to support municipal recycling programs.

Provincial Environment Minister Thomas Mulcair last week announced the adoption by the Quebec Cabinet of a regulation concerning compensation for municipal services provided to ensure the recovery and value enhancement of residual materials. Provisions of this regulation make brand owners and/or primary importers into Quebec of packaged consumer products responsible for environmentally sound management of the packaging containers and materials they put on the market.

These companies will be required to pay their fair share of the costs associated with the value enhancement of these materials, to a maximum of 50% of the net costs. Their contribution will help finance recovery and value enhancement services provided by municipalities and will help the latter achieve the provincial target of adding value to 60% of municipal residual materials. Municipalities will receive up to $20 million per year in compensation for their expenditures on selective collection services.

The provincial government has also introduced a regulation regarding the fees payable for the disposal of residual materials and contaminated soils. The regulation would levy a fee of $10 per tonne on residual materials and contaminated soils (over and above regular disposal fees) disposed of in sanitary landfills, dry material disposal sites or incinerated. By increasing disposal costs, this fee would make materials recovery more attractive from a financial standpoint.

The regulation would generate a total revenue of approximately $118 million over five years, which works out to an average of $24 million per year. These funds would be used to support the implementation by municipalities of their residuals management plans, as well as to compensate communities affected by their proximity to disposal sites.

The proposed regulation will be published in the Quebec Gazette on or before December 1, 2004, along with a cost-benefit analysis.

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