Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Waste disposal fees at CVRD recycling centres increasing

Fuel costs offset plus contract negotiations with Washington state landfill receiving CVRD waste

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is increasing the disposal fees for some materials accepted at the Bings Creek, Peerless Road and Meade Creek Recycling Centres.

The CVRD had planned for a four per cent garbage disposal fee increase in early 2022. However, a roughly 11 per cent increase will be effective June 1. The reason for the increase is to offset fuel costs as well as the outcome of recent contract negotiations with the landfill receiving CVRD waste in Washington state.

“As the CVRD does not update the recycling centre disposal fees at the same frequency as the contract increases, larger jumps in fees are sometimes required to balance the solid waste budget,” said Melissa Tokarek, manager of policy and planning, recycling and waste management for the CVRD. “It’s always a tough decision to increase fees for any of our services, but it’s sometimes necessary.”

Fees for garbage will go from $148 per tonne to $164; food waste and organics from $112 per tonne to $125; mattresses from $13 per unit to $15; tires with rims from zero to $6 per unit; and commercial yard waste from free to $60 per tonne.

The CVRD is adding a disposal fee for tires with rims, and yard and garden waste from commercial customers such as landscaping companies. While the CVRD is adding a fee for commercial customers, yard waste disposal will remain free for all residential customers.

As per the CVRD’s Airshed Management Strategy, and to reduce negative health impacts associated with smoke from yard waste burns, the CVRD has been collecting yard waste free of charge at the recycling centres for many years.

“While the number of commercial yard waste customers is low, the volume of yard waste they bring in is significant,” said Leah Berscheid, CVRD environmental resources assistant. “Also, as our neighbouring regional districts charge for yard waste disposal, the CVRD is receiving out-of-region yard waste from commercial customers.”

In the absence of a local landfill, and with limited landfill capacity on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, the CVRD exports garbage to contracted landfills. The CVRD is currently subsidizing the true cost of landfill garbage by approximately $20 per tonne and will look closer to determine how this practice fits with the region’s Solid Waste Management Plant goals.

High garbage disposal costs was a primary reason the CVRD became one of the first local governments to start mattress and couch recycling programs, which has diverted approximately 27,000 mattresses and 20,000 couches from landfill to recycling to date. As of December 2021, the CVRD has also added a pilot program at the Bings Creek Recycling Centre to divert painted wood waste and will be exploring a program to handle hard-to-recycle plastics in 2023.