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.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Man pleads guilty to stabbing woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, faced 10 charges in relation to this incident

Surrey RCMP boss Brian Edwards on moving forward, and what keeps him awake at night

Edwards spoke with Now-Leader reporter Tom Zytaruk about what he’s learning and hopes to accomplish as Surrey’s top cop

PHOTOS: Cloverdale’s Coldest Night of the Year charity walk raises $125K

Annual event sees more than 500 walkers take part

All-Surrey battle for South Fraser boys basketball title

At Tamanawis, the top four teams will go to provincials

Hopes are for ‘focus on Surrey investments’ when Horgan speaks in March

Luncheon at golf course planned by Surrey Board of Trade

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

UPDATE: Protesters dismantle blockade on Maple Ridge tracks

West Coast Express train service is expected to run again Tuesday morning

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Most Read