The Canadian government is reopening a national recycling program that saw a spike in illegal dumping in 2015, with recycling recycler Gary Smith accusing his former employer of engaging in illegal practices in an effort to gain market share.
The government announced Tuesday that it will no longer require a recycling business to have an environmental certificate, a requirement that helped spur the government to take action against the company.
“The only way we can get the message out there is to have a real discussion about what we are doing and how we are going to achieve this objective,” Smith said Tuesday, as he unveiled a new recycling initiative aimed at encouraging recycling and encouraging Canadians to return their goods to their local businesses.
The reopening of the program, known as Recycle Canada, comes at a time when the country is struggling with the opioid crisis, with a number of deaths reported in Canada each day.
The federal government’s plan, which will also see new recycling requirements put in place at some of Canada’s largest companies, will allow businesses to choose whether or not to recycle.
The plan also includes a plan to encourage the creation of green technology hubs and create incentives for companies to use technology to recycle more.
“We want to make sure that our communities are not left behind when it comes to recycling,” Smith told a news conference.
He noted that Canada has seen an explosion in recycling over the past decade, but he also noted that the industry is now a “bipartisan problem.”
The government has said that the initiative will help address the concerns of the public and provide “a sustainable alternative” to the company that is responsible for the illegal dumping.
“Recycle Canada is a way to bring a new level of sustainability to the Canadian economy and encourage recycling,” said Industry Minister Navdeep Bains.
“By removing the need for a business to comply with the environmental requirements and requirements of the government, it will allow companies to take advantage of opportunities to recycle in an environmentally responsible way.”
In response to the plan, Gary Smith, owner of the RecycleCanada recycling facility, said in a statement that the new initiative is a “pro-consumer initiative that will make recycling a lot easier.”
“We have taken steps to ensure that our facilities are safe, secure and that we do not need to have any type of environmental certifications or permits from the government,” he said.
He added that the company will continue to work with the government on its strategy.
“As we are looking at all our options, we are also in discussions with the [Department of] Environment and Climate Change (DENC), the Canadian government and other partners to ensure we are taking our commitments to the fullest and are in compliance with all relevant environmental regulations,” he added.
“It is a matter of concern that there is not enough support for the sector.”
A spokesperson for the government said the government is “actively working with businesses to increase their recycling rates and make recycling more attractive.”
“The government is committed to supporting a thriving economy, but it is critical that businesses and consumers know the environmental impacts of the products they choose to purchase,” the spokesperson said.
“This new initiative will allow for companies who want to recycle their products to have access to a more sustainable way of doing so, while ensuring consumers have the information they need to make the right decision.”