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Corbella: Jason Nixon looking to expand electronic recycling program

May 15, 2019

Alberta’s new environment minister is considering expanding the mandatory electronics recycling program to help keep mercury, lead and other toxins out of the province’s water, and keep valuable commodities out of our landfills.

Jason Nixon says he is asking to be briefed on a file that past Alberta governments have been negligent on for the past 15 years.

“Recycling benefits all Albertans and this government is committed to protecting our environment and reducing the amount of waste sent to the province’s landfills. We’re always looking for ways to improve our recycling efforts, and are looking forward to working with stakeholders in the most fiscally responsible and innovative way possible,” Nixon said Tuesday.

“Not only will removing more electronics from our landfills save valuable land and resources, but it will protect our land and water from mercury and other items that are toxic to every living thing,” said Nixon.

Norm Racine, director of communications at Shanked Computer Recycling in Acheson, just outside of Edmonton, says it’s long past time for the province to move forward in this area.

“Alberta was the first province to bring in electronics recycling with a levy in Canada in 2004 — that was Phase 1 and we’ve been stuck there ever since — more than 15 years,” said Racine.

So, while Alberta was first out of the gate it is now lagging far behind other provinces because of political cowardice.

The NDP government that was defeated in the April 16 provincial election liked to paint itself as so green. It spent millions of taxpayer dollars paying people to replace citizens’ light bulbs with foreign-supplied LED bulbs, but it never had the courage to move to the next phase of this vital recycling program that would not only keep bulky items such as microwaves out of the landfills, but prevent toxic items from leaching into our groundwater and rivers, says Racine.

“The amount of consultations that have gone on with several different environment ministers over 15 years and different branches of the provincial government is staggering,” said Racine.

“The bill is drawn up, it’s already been vetted but past governments are concerned that the media in particular is going to call it a tax,” said Racine.

That, however, is not what it is. The government never gets its hands on one cent of the money.

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