Canadian Buyback Program

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In a world currently being plagued with the effects of climate change and an excess amount of garbage, every little action counts. Canada is one of the worst and biggest contributors to garbage production, with each Canadian producing around 1000 kilograms of waste a year in 2005, a higher figure than both Japan and the United States (Myra, 2013). Some action must be made to account for this waste, and one way that could help deal with this dangerous figure is by introducing a buyback program for things such as bottles and cans, similar to the beer store’s recycling programs. By signing this petition you would assist in the recycling of single-use plastics and other recyclable materials. 

But what is a buyback program? 

A buyback program is essentially a program that promotes proper disposal of plastics and other recyclable materials. While patrons are able to receive money for simply giving in their recyclable material, they are doing a world of good by ensuring that their waste is properly recycled. Buyback programs prevent containers from entering landfills and prolong their lifetime by ensuring that most cans and bottles are disposed of properly.


Where else have buyback programs been implemented? 

The buyback program has already done amazing in Germany where it has been permanently implemented. In Germany, you can often find buyback machines in grocery stores and in and around local communities. By offering financial rewards, these programs positively promote good recycling habits, which allows 48.8% of plastic waste in Germany was properly recycled (Deutsche Welle 2018). This may not seem like a large amount, but when you look at the breakdown of what that means for the environment it is clear to see that the effects are monumental. It made a big change to Germany’s “total waste volume was 402.2 million metric tons in 2015. Of that, 317.7 million metric tons were recycled” (Brassaw, Weiss, & Alexander 2017), a big increase from Canada’s recycling rate. Programs like the beer store buyback works almost flawlessly, with “96% of all refillable beer bottles sold in Ontario were returned – these bottles are reused an average of 15 times before being recycled into new glass bottles”(The Beer Store 2018). If this same system was applied to all cans and bottles, not just alcoholic containers, it would have a big impact on the amount of waste Canada produces as a whole. 

How will it work on the financial side? 

By charging a deposit fee per bottle, and returning that fee once a product is recycled, the program can be run at a profit for both the buyers and business. This fee could be something as small as 5 cents per can, and then once you are done with the can, you return it and get your deposit back. This costs no money for the consumer and insures that people dispose of their cans and bottles properly so it can be reused again. 

How does your signature help? 

Your signature will help get the attention of local politicians who will then be forced into at least considering the idea of a buyback program. The only downsides of this program is that it would require more storage space for the containers themselves, but over time the cost would be saved from not having to harvest and extract new materials to produce more containers that already exist and can be used.

What can the Brampton Mayor change to help? 

On the municipal level, small changes to garbage collection can be made that would reduce the time and money spent on sorting items. A system for recycling somewhat like Germany's could make a difference to how much recyclable containers could actually be salvaged. Germany uses a multicolour code where “black is for general waste, blue is for paper, yellow is for plastic, white is for clear glass, green is for colored glass and brown for composting.” (Brassaw, Weiss, & Alexander 2017). The only downside to this is that more frequent collections would have to happen, with multiple trucks only carrying one or two types of garbage. This would be negated by the less time needed to sort the recyclables that do come in, making there little to no financial downside.

Sources

Brassaw, Brian, et al. “Germany: A Recycling Program That Actually Works.” Earth911.Com, 4 Oct. 2017, https://earth911.com/business-policy/recycling-in-germany/ Accessed 13 Nov. 2019.

Deutsche Welle. “Plastic Waste and the Recycling Myth: DW: 12.10.2018.” DW.COM, 12 Oct. 2018, https://www.dw.com/en/plastic-waste-and-the-recycling-myth/a-45746469 Accessed 13 Nov. 2019.

Hird, Myra J. "Waste, landfills, and an environmental ethic of vulnerability." Ethics & the Environment, vol. 18, no. 1, 2013, p. 105+. Gale Academic Onefile, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A333448040/AONE?u=miss91533&sid=AONE&xid=f1fc0671 Accessed 13 Nov. 2019.

The Beer Store. “Stewardship Report.” The Beer Store, The Beer Store, 2018, https://www.thebeerstore.ca/tbs-environmental-report/ Accessed 13 Nov. 2019.