By Greg Amos, Pioneer Staff

After lobbying from Chambers of Commerce across the province, a B.C.-wide recycling regulation has been amended to impact less than one per cent of businesses.

This is a huge relief to our local business community, said the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Clovechok. This change exempts the majority of our local businesses from new costs and red tape.

The regulation, which will create a new agency called Multi Material BC (MMBC), targets packaging and printed paper and is slated to go into force in May.

Multi Material BC will be responsible for creating a stewardship plan to support the principle of extended producer responsibility. While the local chamber agrees with the idea of balancing environmental goals with business needs, the unintended consequences in terms of the time and cost required for a business to track its output of packaging and paper posed a serious concern.

Earlier this week, the B.C. government announced that it will enshrine in regulation an exemption for any B.C. business that meets any of the following criteria: annual revenues of less than $1 million, a total output of less than one tonne of packaging and printed paper produced annually, or a single point of retail sale (not supplied by or operated as part of a franchise, chain or under a banner).

That means that less than 3,000 businesses in the province will be captured by the regulation, out of more than 385,000.

While the majority of small businesses in the valley will now be exempt from the new regulations, larger businesses, such as Sobeys, AG Valley Foods, Kicking Horse Coffee, Canadian Tire, Rona, and

Invermere Home Hardware will still be impacted by the new regulations, as well as all franchise businesses such as Tim Hortons and Dairy Queen.

Municipalities are also affected by the incoming regulation, although it is beneficial in some cases. The District of Invermere stands to make about $37 per household towards its curbside recycling program, including performance bonuses, said district chief

administrative officer Chris Prosser.