Commercial waste trucks that dump garbage at Metro transfer stations

Metro Vancouver vows to block garbage exodus

Eastbound waste trucks dodge region's tipping fees, avoid disposal bans

Metro Vancouver risks losing much of the tipping fees that underpin the region’s recycling system unless it blocks commercial waste haulers from trucking garbage east to Abbotsford.

Cost is the main reason why 50,000 tonnes of garbage is already trucked out-of-region each year, often rolling right past Metro transfer stations while adding to congestion and air emissions.

Some outbound haulers use an Abbotsford transfer station or other out-of-region landfill for as little as $70 per tonne, while Metro Vancouver’s tipping fee is $107.

The difference, officials say, is because Metro’s fees also support a full range of recycling initiatives in the region, as well as planning and administration costs.

They plan to intervene to keep the current trickle of outgoing trash from growing to a flood.

The 50,000 tonnes exiting the region translates into $5.3 million a year in lost tipping fees, but that could soar to more than $60 million if all the haulers who handle commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-family waste pickup in the region followed suit.

Solid waste department manager Paul Henderson said a full migration of those sectors, which account for 60 per cent of Metro’s 1.1 million annual tonnes of waste, would likely force the region to slash service levels while making residential homes pay a much bigger share of the system’s cost.

It’s not just money at stake but the effectiveness of Metro’s recycling rules, because customers who use outbound haulers don’t have to abide by the disposal bans Metro imposes to keep recyclable materials from being dumped.

“That material avoids the bans and prohibitions we have in place in the region to encourage recycling,” Henderson said.

Metro is expected to propose a licensing system that forces haulers to use Metro transfer stations or designated in-region private recycling operators.

Henderson said curbing the outbound flow is “critical” as the region is committed to intensify its recycling efforts to boost diversion from 55 per cent to at least 70 per cent.

“If we do nothing there is a strong likelihood we would be unable to implement all the activities and achieve the goals laid out in the solid waste management plan,” he said.

Tipping fees have steadily climbed more than 60 per cent since 2006, when they were just $65 per tonne.

But cutting them isn’t a good option, Henderson said, because they are a powerful tool to encourage recycling.

“Our system is based on full cost recovery,” he said. “We wouldn’t artificially inflate our tipping fees to further increase recycling but we believe it’s a very important tool.”

After a 10 per cent increase last year, Metro expects to keep its tipping fee frozen at $107 for 2013.

Metro’s fees are the same as the Capital Regional District in Victoria and less than the $115 in Nanaimo, but more than Calgary’s $98 or Toronto’s $100 tipping fee.

Metro will consult industry ahead of a final decision next spring on exactly what regulations to impose.

Just Posted

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

G-Men wrap regular season with loss in Kelowna Saturday

Now, the Langley-based Vancouver Giants prepare for playoffs starting Friday in Victoria.

Colorado steals late victory from Langley lacrosse team

Next match up is against Cowtown during the Stealth country night March 31 at Langley Events Centre.

Fraser Valley Thunderbirds take game one in Langley

Quarter final BC Hockey Major Midget League series underway

Sneak peak: Aldergrove Community Secondary is hosting a big party May 12

That’s when people can see the school and the historic memorabilia gathered for its 60th anniversary.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Horse found stuck in muddy field rescued in Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge firefighters set up a pulley system to drag the horse to solid ground

VIDEO: Two Maple Ridge contortionists have sights set on Cirque

The Pair competed at the Viva festival in Vegas and are now auditioning for spot on America’s Got Talent

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Most Read