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In Zero Waste Canada

Recycling fees fund boozy board dinners?

Recently, The Toronto Star newspaper published an article about the Ontario Recycling program, Ontario tire recycling fees fund boozy board dinners.

The investigative piece by Moira Welsh zeroed in on the expense accounts(using credit card statements) of Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) board members, as well as political donations the non-profit stewardship organization made to provincial Liberal party.

The Ontario Tire Stewardship organization (OTS) released a response to the article on their website RETHINK TIRES, replying that board “is comprised of highly skilled volunteers who receive no remuneration. OTS’ total expenditures related to the Board (including one meeting a year in an upscale venue and training and tools directly related to their roles as Directors) is .1 per cent of our overall administration costs.”

Reading both article and OTS’ response highlighted how little both government and citizens know about the inner workings of Canada’s stewardship organizations, and how in the case of recycling fees how the money is actually used and distributed.

The Ontario Recycling Stewardship program collected stewardship fees from first importers and scrap tire in the province. The stewardship fees are used for providing incentives for collection, transport, processing of scrap tires as well as manufacturing of recycled goods.

Registered collectors, transporters, and processors have responsibilities that are stipulated by OTS, and these registered participants (collectors, haulers, processors0 are responsible for costs associated with these OTS stipulations including liability insurance, storage, employee wage and training, and reporting.

In Ontario, when the consumer pays an eco-fee of $4.75 for a passenger tire when purchasing a new tire, the eco-fee is collected by OTS which runs the tire recycling program. As well as administration costs for OTS, the fees are used to pay collectors, haulers, processors and manufacturers incentives( stipulated payments) for their role in the tire recycling program. Collectors are paid an average of 88 cents per passenger tires or the equivalent, haulers  are paid an average of $1.25 per passenger tire or equivalent, and processors get an average of $1.07 per passenger tire or equivalent.

While board meetings are important, OTS needs to realize that a $16,104 board meeting at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier or a $2,023 bill for wine seems very expensive to someone getting 88 cents for handling tires, storing and collecting tires. Perhaps this Toronto Star article and the OTS response also highlight the disconnect some stewards have to the financial well-being of the handlers (the businesses that are recycling the products).

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