Delta Mayor George Harvie is asking the province to exempt printed newspaper from a program that makes producers responsible for recycling the products they make, and the associated costs.
In a letter to Environment Minister George Heyman dated Aug. 25, Harvie urged the province to consider exempting printed newspapers from extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulation which requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers take responsibility for the life cycle of the products they sell.
The mayor said that, “unlike product packaging, the newspaper is the product,” and argued EPR levies on newspapers will have a negative impact on the local economy.
Harvie noted newspapers have the highest level of collection of all recyclable materials, including plastics and aluminum. Further, he said B.C.’s levy on plastics has remained flat while the levy on newspaper has gone up as much as 80 per cent in a single year.
“Driving up the cost of newspaper production with such significant EPR fees in turn drives down content as newspapers (…) are forced to make cuts in other areas to offset these levies.”
Harvie said newspapers play a vital role in keeping communities like Delta “informed and connected in a world of misinformation and distrust.”
“Many British Columbians rely on printed newspapers for important information — including notices for public hearings and events happening in our community. In addition, countless small businesses in Delta find newspapers the best value for reaching local consumers,” he wrote.
“Every $50,000 in EPR levies equates to one job in journalism, and those will be jobs in cities like ours where we could use more journalism, not less. Newspapers are already struggling financially and EPR fees will only compound matters.”