The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the recent changes that occurred at the Pemberton Transfer Station, as there appears to be some misinformation circulating.
To start, as consumers of goods we all must understand that waste management – including recycling, composting, product stewardship programs (oil, tires, etc.) and of course landfilling garbage – costs money, a lot of money. Disposal costs continue to rise as landfills reach capacity and local governments try to incentivize reducing, reusing and recycling as the more cost-efficient and environmentally responsible option. To cover these costs a combination of taxation and tipping fees - also referred to as Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) fees - are used. The PAYT approach uses the rationale that those who generate the waste should be responsible for the disposal costs. Research has shown such user fees are effective at increasing recycling and diversion rates as well as distributing waste management costs more equitably among the population.
Now, back to the changes that occurred at the Pemberton Transfer Station. Let's start with the PAYT fees. The new user fee for household garbage is $17/cubic metre, which amounts to $34 for a standard truckload. This rate is up from $30 a truckload, which amounts to an increase of just over 13%. However, user fee rates double should the load contain 5% or more recyclables (paper, containers, cardboard, etc.) including food waste. This doubled rate has been in place for several years now following the lead of the Squamish Landfill which implemented the increase as a measure to further incentivize recycling. The Whistler Transfer Station also charges a doubled tipping fee for loads that contain recyclables. The user rate to dispose of mixed waste (a.k.a containing recyclables) in Pemberton is $45/cubic metre, which is up from $40 previously. Sorting out recyclables including food waste – all offered with $0 tipping fees – will significantly lower your disposal costs.
In addition to a 13% increase in tipping fees, the Pemberton Transfer Station is no longer accepting mattresses or drywall. Decisions to reduce services are difficult to make, however, with limited space, employee safety concerns and increasing disposal costs for mattresses and drywall the SLRD has chosen not to accept these items at this time. Presently, Whistler takes mattresses at a current rate of $10/mattress. They are stored in a shipping container to remain dry which ensures proper recycling once transported to Vancouver. Additionally, the Whistler Re-Use-It Centre accepts mattresses in good condition and the Pemberton RONA has recently offered to help those in need by accepting mattresses for $15/each.
Gypsum, or Gyproc, or drywall as its better known, is also no longer allowed at the Pemberton Transfer Station as the disposal cost have skyrocketed from $85/ Metric Tonne to $175/ Metric Tonne in 2016. Along with the increased disposal cost, there are health and safety risks of Asbestos exposure on drywall from pre-1990 construction and demolition projects. Unprotected workers exposed to Asbestos-contaminated air can breathe in the fibres which may cause serious health problems, such as lung disease and cancer. The SLRD urges all resident to understand the risks and to learn more at www.slrd.bc.ca/asbestos. Drywall containing asbestos falls under Hazardous Waste Regulations and requires proper handling and disposal. In response to this health and safety issue as well as space and budget constraints, the SLRD will no longer accept drywall at this time. The Whistler Transfer Station continues to take asbestos free drywall and conditions do apply. Learn more about on their website.
The SLRD continues to accept household waste, motor oil, tires, light bulbs, household batteries, food waste & house plants, paper, cardboard, glass, containers, foam packaging and film plastic all with no user fees to Pemberton and Area Residents.
Each day as we consume and discard items it is an opportunity to reflect on our choices and the impact they have. We all need to remember that we don't ever really throw things ‘away.' All our waste must go somewhere, and that somewhere comes with a cost.
Should you have any questions, comments or any interest in taking a tour of your local Waste Management Infrastructure, please contact the SLRD Utilities and Environmental Services Department at 604-894-6371 or firstname.lastname@example.org