By Tera Grady –
Cariboo Regional District (CRD) residents pay for garbage and recycling costs primarily through taxation, not “user pay” as in most other jurisdictions in British Columbia. The CRD is one of only a few regional districts that does not charge residential tipping fees on household waste. In the CRD, solid waste residential tax rates for 2018 will be about $56 per $100,000 of assessed property value.
On first thought, many residents are likely happy with this system as it makes garbage drop-off quick and easy at refuse sites. However, upon further investigation, many residents might change their minds. So, let’s break it down.
Say you are a family of two and you recycle your packaging and printed paper items, compost your green waste at home, and recycle stewardship items (tires, electronics, light bulbs, paint, used oil, etc). Under these assumptions, it is reasonable to estimate that your household would only produce two large bags of garbage a month—or 24 for the year. With your property assessed at $300,000 for 2018, you will pay $168 for your solid waste costs in a year—that works out to $7 per bag.
Compare that with your neighbour whose property is valued at $150,000 and has a family of five. They don’t recycle or compost and they produce two large bags of garbage per week or 104 bags per year. Annually, they will only pay $84 for their solid waste costs, which will work out to less than a dollar per bag. This scenario seems less than fair and provides no incentive for residents to recycle, compost, or reduce their waste.
In a user pay system, it is generally free to drop off recyclables and each load has a minimum fee, or per tonne tipping fee, that is charged the same to everyone. There are also many challenges associated with user pay, especially when some refuse sites are remote and/or non-controlled like they are in the Cariboo Regional District.
User pay will be a topic of discussion in the CRD’s next Solid Waste Management planning process, which will start in 2021. Your input will be needed to shape the next ten year Solid Waste Management Plan (2023-2033).
Please give some thought to the taxation and user pay funding models and make sure to have your say when the time comes.
For comparison, a list of residential tipping fees (“user pay” systems) in other Regional Districts is listed below.
Learn more by following us on Facebook at facebook.com/caribooregion, visiting us online at cariboord.ca, or looking for our Waste Wise articles in your local paper. For more information on the Waste Wise Program, call (250) 398-7929. You can also find more details on Waste Wise activities and events at ccconserv.org.