Cooperative marketing organizations for recyclable material are growing throughout North America. Traditionally coops have united rural and under-serviced communities enabling them to achieve economies of scale in marketing secondary resources. More recently the move is towards building cooperatives to service larger urban areas. Currently, for example, a five state cooperative is forming to market secondary material for 5.5 million people.
The aim of this discussion paper is to research existing cooperative models to determine the concept's suitability in the British Columbia context. No two cooperatives are the same; each address the concerns and needs of their local communities and markets. While some coops offer a full range of services from householder to the end user (collection, processing, transportation) other organizations focus specifically on transportation and marketing to existing buyers and end-users.
Economies of scale realized in processing/marketing and securing a stable market appear to be the main reasons for starting a cooperative organization. In addition to these two reasons, urban and state-wide cooperatives organize to ensure they can compete for contracts with other jurisdictions as North American communities implement new recycling programs. Most cooperatives are structured through a non-profit society for liability and autonomy purposes. An at-arms-length agency ensures that profits remain in the organization and are not lost in general revenues of a government body.
This discussion paper recommends a strategy to develop a province wide cooperative with input from stakeholders and potential members. The four point strategy includes developing a needs inventory, program design, implementation and program adjustment.
Bell, Caddell and Associates. 1992. Cooperative Marketing: A Strategy for British Columbia's Recyclables - Discussion Paper. BC Ministry of Environment