Protesters scatter plastic bottles in front of NS legislature

Hundreds of plastic pop bottles were strewn along the street in front of Province House in Nova Scotia on May 13, 2003, as frustrated recyclers demanded a bigger share of container recycling revenues. The 87 Enviro-Depots, members of the Eastern Recyclers Association (ERA), claim that they are under-funded, and that the quantity of funds allotted to recycling depots should be increased.

The Resource Recovery Fund Board (RRFB) is contracted with the provincial government to administer the deposit refund program. Recyclers blame the RRFB for going broke recycling the millions of bottles they process every year. The looting followed a four-hour negotiation on May 9 to discuss handling fee costs.

The depots sort through an average of 2.6 million containers a year each, earning about $77,000 with which to pay rent, salaries and taxes. The reallocation of funds would probably require the municipalities to give up a portion of their $7-million share. The province also receives about $1-million per year from net revenues for enforcement of regulations.

The recyclers are calling on the RRFB to reallocate funds. A recent study shows that depots currently receive 2.95 cents per container but that 4.2 cents is needed to be viable. Acknowledging the price adjustment would be challenging at first, the recyclers have offered to start at 3.3 cents, which would still give Nova Scotia the distinction of having the second lowest handling fees in Canada (after New Brunswick).

For further information, contact the NS Department of Environment and Labour at 902-424-4300