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courtney-recycling-1The budget announced today included reorganization of environmental spending. Climate change is now more clearly recognized in the budget, although not with new funds.  Roughly the same amount has been allocated to climate change initiatives as last year, but this year, it is divided into several line items.

In last year’s budget, $15 million was allocated to Green Initiatives, a section under the ministry’s Corporate Policy and Planning line item.  Now, the same initiative is found under Climate Change.

Photo: Bryn Levy 



The Climate Change section has $16 million allocated to it over the next fiscal year.  $15.3 million will be spent on the environment programs directly while $1.4 million is to be spent in Energy and Resources.

Part of environmental spending is through an incentive program called Go Green. 

The Go Green program was announced in the 2008/2009 budget with a promise to spend $70 million over four years.  The 2010/2011 budget summary says that Go Green funding “of over $2.5 million…will establish the foundational elements of the provincial climate change plan.”

A full $1.6 million of the Go Green funds will go toward carbon capture research, carried out by the University of Regina’s Petroleum Technology Research Centre.

A multi-material recycling program, projected to start in 2011, will also receive funds from the Go Green program.  These funds will go towards consultations, and bridging the existing municipal recycling programs.

The multi-material stewardship program uses extended producer responsibility, according to Chris Potter, waste management coordinator of the ministry of environment.

As Potter explained, the cost of advertising, shipping, and producing a product is already built into the cost of the product itself.  What’s missing is the cost of disposing of the item.  EPR considers the cost of the product’s whole life cycle – whether it be through recycling or another form of disposal.

Manitoba’s provincial program is launching April 1, 2010, and Ontario already has a long-standing program.  Saskatchewan plans to build onto the already-existing programs.

“It’s not like we’re creating the wheel again, we’re gonna build on existing programs because many of the existing manufacturers are active in all the provinces…they’ve already figured out how much it costs to recycle,” Potter explained

With the budget fresh on their minds, both Potter and the minister of the environment, Nancy Heppner, will be speaking at the Spring 2010 Waste Minimization Forum in Regina on March 25 and 26.  Heppner is giving an address tomorrow night at 8 p.m., and Potter is speaking Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. 

The forum, put on by the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council will be held at the Ramada Hotel.