Whitehorse Daily Star

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Martin Lehner and Stacey Hassard

Consultation extended on recycling charges

Industry concerns have prompted the Yukon government to extend consultation on updates to the Designated Materials Regulation (DMR).

By Taylor Blewett on November 8, 2017

Industry concerns have prompted the Yukon government to extend consultation on updates to the Designated Materials Regulation (DMR).

The regulation will see residents and businesses in the territory paying new and higher surcharges up-front for electronics, electrical products and tires.

“We’re very pleased,” Rick Karp, the president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, told the Star this morning.

“We certainly hope that the new government follows through with some significant consultations with the different sectors involved.”

Karp is one of many Yukon business leaders and proprietors who have spoken out in recent days about a lack of consultation on the new regulations.

“This Liberal government did campaign on the slogan of Be Heard,” Stacey Hassard, the Yukon Party’s interim leader, told the legislative assembly Tuesday.

“We certainly have heard from representatives of the local tech industry who say they were not heard on these regulations. We have heard from representatives of local tire shops, saying they were not heard.”

The DMR will help pay for the recycling and waste management of tires, electronic devices, and electrical products like toasters and irons.

The updates were introduced, then stayed in 2016 in response to industry concerns under the Yukon Party government.

Liberal Community Services Minister John Streicker announced last May that the updated surcharges were to come into effect in February 2018.

This date will now be pushed back, he confirmed to the Star yesterday, but to when, he doesn’t yet know. It will depend on the length of the consultation period, which the cabinet will decide later this week.

It will be long enough, Streicker said, to ensure “that the industry can share their thoughts and concerns with us.”

The rationale for the extended consultation is threefold, according to the minister.

The government is seeking to give every stakeholder more time to be heard, to give local businesses more time to implement the necessary infrastructure to charge the point-of-sale surcharge, and to clarify the facts of the DMR updates.

“I just want to make sure that everybody’s on the same page, and I want to make sure that we’re hearing from them,” said Streicker.

Certainly, local proprietors are calling both for government to listen to industry, and to provide clarity on some pressing questions.

Rick Copes, the manager at Kal Tire in Whitehorse, is questioning how the government came up with its classification system for the three tiers of tire surcharge.

Yukoners will pay $7, $15 or $50, depending on their tire’s rim diameter – a flawed system, according to Copes.

“I have a feeling it’s people making decisions without actually knowing what they’re talking about,” he said.

A high-end pickup truck and a mining truck tire could have the same rim diameter, but a weight difference of nearly 1,000 pounds and therefore a different recycling cost, he noted.

“They’ve done their research, and they’re ready to sit down and have a talk,” Karp said of local businesses that will be affected by the DMR update.

The Liberal government has consulted with the tire industry on the new regulations since taking power, but not the electronics industry, Streicker said. The latter did not request further consultation than what was done under the previous government, he added.

Streicker was asked why the tire industry consultation isn’t posted on the government’s new public engagements website.

Announced by Premier Sandy Silver late last month, it lists past and ongoing 2017 government consultations like that on cannabis legalization and the Societies Act and regulations. Streicker said he would have to look into the tire industry consultation question.

The Department of Community Services has yet to answer the same question, posed by the Star Tuesday.

The government has not decided what form the extended DMR consultation will take, but Streicker said anyone with something to say about the subject is welcome to participate.

As far as what elements of the regulations are open to revision? “The kitchen sink,” Streicker said.

“We’re open to whatever those questions and concerns are. But ... there has been a lot of back and forth about what would work and what wouldn’t work ... I think a lot of thought has gone into it already.”

Hassard told the Star this morning that while the Yukon Party is awaiting further details about the consultation extension, “We’re certainly happy to see that the government is listening not only to ourselves but to industry as well and hopefully going back to the drawing board and getting it right.

“I think that industry certainly has some good ideas that the government could incorporate into these regulations, so I think it’s important that they sit down and listen.”

Comments (19)

Up 0 Down 0

Politico on Nov 14, 2017 at 4:34 pm

@Ginger. I love people who drop the bomb with no explanation. I remember Rob Ford getting elected on cutting waste in Toronto. After the election he couldn't find any fat to cut so Rob cut essential services. Is that what you have in mind?

Up 3 Down 2

jack on Nov 14, 2017 at 3:43 pm

@Let responsibility fall where it belongs.. did you fact check? Check out Kelowna tipping fees at https://www.kelowna.ca/city-services/garbage-recycling-yard-waste/glenmore-landfill/tipping-fees-or-rates - their rates very for construction waste up to $145/tonne.. the $10/tonne rate only applies to untreated lumber, which we can send to compost here in Whitehorse for $40/tonne..My guess is you also didn't check Grand Prairie and thus you are just making stuff up - good job.

And to those who don't want more tax.. well don't buy the stuff and you don't have to pay the extra. Problem solved - and you would actually save more money!

Up 0 Down 1

In the biz on Nov 14, 2017 at 3:38 pm

@ North_of_60

Nice assumptions in your post. The IT 'biz' is pretty broad. I don't work in the sales or retail side of things, nor do I work for someone in that world.

It's great that you use old beater computers but some of us do more than look at cat pictures on the internet or send chain emails to old friends so yeah, 'in the biz' we do video rendering, compile code, host and back up huge amounts of data, create applications and a million other things that require modern devices with the processing and video horsepower that are required to do our jobs.

The thing with CFS is the schools don't want those machines and neither do NGOs or the public at large. If fact why are they even called computers for schools? I bet it's to make people like you sleep better at night not having to think about some kid in a sweat shop overseas stripping apart machines for the metals within.

Up 16 Down 2

Let responsibility fall where it belongs on Nov 11, 2017 at 8:49 am

I would like to ask the experts like (interim leader of the opposition) Hazard, Rick Karp, Minister Streicker , (most importantly) the silent Mayor Curtis why tipping fees at the Whitehorse dump are so out of line on construction waste, metals, etc with other dumps in western Canada. In Whitehorse a load of these materials will cost you $100/ton whereas in Kelowna or Grande Prairie will cost you $10/ton. There is some real milking going on here as I would think 3x would be sufficient for increased shipping charges not 10x. This excess profit could be used to cover some of the cost associated with electronics, computers (where is hill billy computers?), get into tire chipping where this product could be used many places including pot holes if drilled.

Up 15 Down 2

CJ on Nov 10, 2017 at 3:16 pm

There's something skewed against recycling electronics the way tipping fees work right now, at least if they work similar to televisions. I've never bought a new tv, and never spent more than $125 for one. But I would be charged $25 to throw one out, while the person who sells one they bought new gets some of their money back. The person who extends the use of an item gets stuck with the tipping fee.

I keep hearing people say "If you can afford to buy a new TV (fridge, stove, sofa), you can afford tipping fees". But that's not a fact, that everyone who's throwing something out is wantonly buying new stuff because they have so much cash.

So as it stands, I think twice now about buying secondhand goods. They don't last as long, and you have to factor in tipping fees that could add a substantial percentage to the cost. I think if you have $500 to buy a new item, finding another $20 or so probably isn't a big deal. But when you buy that item a few years down the road for $100, different story. Adding the surcharge at the counter seems more fair, if they don't go overboard.

Up 16 Down 2

north_of_60 on Nov 9, 2017 at 4:44 pm

@"In the biz", is obviously biased and misinformed. Of course someone "In the biz" wants older equipment scrapped so they can sell someone the newest product they don't really need. It's only about money for people like "In the biz".

All of my computers are older models that have been inexpensively upgraded with newer software and hardware as required. They serve my purposes more than adequately. Everyone doesn't need the newest i-Toy.

If more people could qualify for CFS computers then less would be recycled as waste. It's a policy problem not a technology problem.
Myopic people like "In the biz" are exactly why we have an electronics waste problem.

Up 14 Down 2

ProScience Greenie on Nov 9, 2017 at 4:02 pm

If we ran lean and efficient governments free of bloat and waste we'd put out less C02 and also have a few more dollars in our pockets.

Up 17 Down 5

Sarah on Nov 9, 2017 at 3:09 pm

ProScience Greenie are you kidding?? Every "consultation" undertaken by this government thus far has been done using......SURVEY MONKEY! It's pathetic and the results are skewed. Hence the business community coming out against them every other week.

Up 18 Down 3

Ginger Johnson on Nov 9, 2017 at 2:12 pm

"residents and businesses in the territory paying new and higher surcharges and taxes" seems to be the only solution to problems that all levels of Yukon government can think of.
Reducing current spending on less urgent matters (and there are LOTS of those) never seems to enter the discussion.
Fiscally responsible candidates should easily win in upcoming elections

Up 14 Down 8

In the biz on Nov 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Refurbishing and reusing computers is in most cases ridiculous. The very second you unbox a modern piece of technology (smart phones, computers etc) it is already charted its course into obsolescence.

The rate at which technology is plowing forward is exponential, driven both by the manufacturers and the consumers. More storage, more/faster RAM, faster video processing. By the time a consumer upgrades a device in a few years it has little to no value to anyone aside from some of the raw materials (metals) within.

I'd be curious to know what percentage of material delivered to CFSY actually gets re-purposed to NGOs or homes and just doesn't end up immediately in a junk pile again. I know that computers are not being put into schools because as someone else mentioned they are ancient compared to what's in Yukon schools currently.

Up 12 Down 7

Computers for Schools Yukon on Nov 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Martin Lehner is absolutely right; refurbishing and reusing computers is far more sustainable than just recycling. That is why the Yukon government needs to ensure that the new Designated Material Regulations for electronic devices should place refurbishment and reuse before recycling. YG already supports Computers for Schools (CFS), a non-profit federal program, through donation of a work space and refurbishable computers.

Every other province across Canada excluding Nunavut has both electronic waste regulations and a branch of CFS. In all these cases having regulations has not affected the number of donations that CFS receives.

CFS does not charge fees for refurbishing computers. Raven Recycling collects used computers for a fee to recycle the computer and then provides the refurbishable parts to CFS. There would be no ‘fee doubling’ if consumers paid an up-front recycling fee. The fee would be paid once at the time of purchase and Raven would no longer have to charge.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us directly
Computers for Schools at: admin@cfsy.ca
Raven Recycling at: ed@ravenrecycling.org

Up 19 Down 4

What misfs me... on Nov 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

...is that I am less concerned with what the business community feels. In the end they are not paying the fee - they are just the collection agent. Yes that is a burden, I agree.
The real issue is the we the poor slobs that have to pay for this tax have not been consulted! I am opposed to any tax that takes away from my income, which is already stretched thin. All I seem to be doing lately is see more of my income going out to socialist programs instituted by those that believe everyone and his brother deserves to pay. Why is that everything the government sees as a benefit to their ideology has to be tied to sticking their mitts into my pocket.
Why not ask those that are going to be forking out the dough - afraid of the answer you will get??

Up 20 Down 5

Dean LaRue on Nov 8, 2017 at 10:05 pm


Let's decrease the cost of Government instead.
Wage and hiring freezes for the absurdly bloated Yukon and Whitehorse civil services
No more severance packages for DEFEATED and NOT EVEN RUNNING AGAIN Yukon politicians.
No more self given "just as long as we get ours" raises for city politicians without electorate approval.

Up 12 Down 4

truth seeker on Nov 8, 2017 at 7:35 pm

CO2 is plant food... we need more of it to counter the cooling that will be brought on by the grand solar minimum period we are entering now. Wake up... going along with the lies that back the carbon tax is essentially agreeing to taxing the air we breathe... constantly increasing taxes will simply result in ghettos, poor and sick people and go right in line with the sick efforts of UN agenda 21 = cull the population.
Cut all taxes and let prosperity encourage people to make the world a better place - beating them into compliance will never work, rather it will backfire.

Up 10 Down 6

Pilot on Nov 8, 2017 at 5:57 pm

@Martin Lehner

Computers for schools doesn't even send refurbished gear into Yukon schools because the gear currently in the schools in light years ahead of a recycled 486 that grandma dropped off. They get skidded, wrapped and sit out in the rain and snow in some cases for years where they are eventually shipped south ending up god knows where.

Up 20 Down 2

Max Mack on Nov 8, 2017 at 5:51 pm

"Consultation" means that the very people who have to pay for this nonsense are not asked or listened to.
Ever more recycling fees, environment fees, tipping fees, property taxes, "utility" charges, service fees, fines, income taxes, and the greatest scam of them all: carbon taxes.

I am tired of this nonsense. My footprint has declined dramatically, but government thinks I should be penalized even more.

Up 24 Down 5

Martin Lehner on Nov 8, 2017 at 4:28 pm

@recycler: Actually, we're not opposed to point-of-purchase recycling fees. All our clients already pay to recycle their used technology equipment with Computers For Schools Yukon (CFSY). What we don't want to see is CFSY disappear because everyone now takes their used technology products to the local dump. CFSY does more than recycle; they refurbish and reuse, something that is often missed when recycling is discussed, yet it is one of the most environmentally sustainable acts of "recycling". Our company has taken 2.72 Million lbs of CO2 out of the atmosphere, so I would tend to suggest that we do care about the environment through sustainable business practices. I'd be happy to chat with you in person if you'd like, I'm always up to discuss these kinds of topics with fellow Yukoners.

Up 23 Down 6

ProScience Greenie on Nov 8, 2017 at 3:47 pm

Hope YTG isn't using the completely unscientific Survey Monkey polling method with this consultation like the City Whitehorse planning department seem to be fond of.

Up 7 Down 36

recycler on Nov 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm

Lehner is opposed to increasing tipping fees for electronics because it'll cut into his bottom line. We all have to pay for recycling, it's the way of the future. Lehner should not be opposed to recycling. Disgusting.

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