Cornwall city council has approved new tipping fees for the Cornwall Landfill, increasing the fees charged for residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional (IC&I) waste generators, as staff members have vaguely mentioned a levy for curbside collection will be a next step.
According to a 2021 report from the office of the Auditor General of Ontario, IC&I establishments include manufacturers, retail stores, office buildings, restaurants, hotels, universities and hospitals, which create 60 per cent of the province’s waste.
The recommendation comes as Cornwall’s tipping fees are significantly lower than other comparable municipalities and is meant to encourage recycling to divert materials from the landfill.
“Our tipping fees are so low right now that we’re actually attracting more business. Particularly, ICI customers, and it’s just filling up our landfill at an expedited rate, so the intent would be to hopefully divert a lot of this ICI waste,” said Stephen Romano the division manager for environmental services with the city.
The restructuring will include a $40 increase, to $125 per tonne, for waste brought to the landfill from the IC&I sector, with an additional surcharge of 50 per cent, coming to a total of $187.50 per tonne for waste containing “containing recyclable or divertible materials” according to the council report.
Those dropping off residential waste, whether individual households or contractors that pickup multi-unit residential properties’ garbage, will also see a 50 per cent surcharge for dumping waste containing recyclable or divertible materials with a total cost of $127.50 per tonne.
The update to the fees will take effect on Jan. 1, several months later than originally proposed in July.
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“The current tipping fee of $85 per tonne does not encourage IC&I customers to implement measures to recycle or divert waste. It is simply cheaper and easier to dispose of unsorted waste than to make the effort to sort recyclable or reusable materials out of generated waste for diversion,” the report reads. “This is evident by the amount of recyclable and/or reusable materials that is contained in mixed loads of waste disposed at the landfill tipping face by commercial haulers.”
Cornwall waste management supervisor Dave Kuhn said background research was conducted into what other cities comparable to Cornwall are doing.
The city is proposing to surcharge loads of waste visibly containing over 10 per cent of recyclable and divertible waste. The report defines recyclable waste as materials like corrugated cardboard, with divertible materials such as scrap metal and tires, untreated wood, mattresses, box springs, and electronic waste.
“We have found that the majority of the ones that we surveyed are employing some sort of surcharge as a penalty to those that bring a certain threshold of recycling in with their regular waste. Now our surcharge being a 50 per cent surcharge is half of what we’ve seen from other cities such as Kingston [and] Peterborough,” he said, adding that those cities have a surcharge of 100 per cent.
According to the report, the waste management program is primarily funded by landfill tipping fees payed by IC&I waste. These fees also heavily subsidize residential curbside collection, whose costs are not entirely covered by property tax revenue, and residential waste taken directly to the landfill.
Since measures proposed in the report will possibly lead to a loss in tipping fee revenue, an additional levy will be put on the residential sector to offset this loss. An inaugural levy against the residential sector will be suggested for 2023 budget deliberations to account for the loss of tipping fees. No details were offered on how this potential levy on curbside collection would be structured or charged.
“It is proposed that the levy be increased incrementally over the next few years until full cost recovery of residential waste services is achieved,” the report states.