Some residents wondering how much waste disposal will cost them in 2013 0
Each week, Brandon MacKenzie’s east-end Barrie household uses up to 16 recycling bins to tackle the garbage at their home. He fears how much waste disposal will cost him now that garbage tags are $3 each. MARK WANZEL PHOTO
With a family of nine, Becky Machniewski has to buy garbage tags weekly.
With three children ranging in age from 18 months to five years old and six grown-ups living in their large house in Barrie’s east end, she says they’ve become recycling experts.
“We recycle religiously,” Machniewski said Thursday, surrounded by her children, grandchildren and dogs. “We have six grey bins and seven or eight blue bins. But every week we still have enough garbage that we have to buy tags.”
Looking forward to having a full house with 24 people sitting down to Christmas dinner, Machniewski is already mentally calculating how many more garbage tags they’ll need.
The cost of the new garbage tags went up to $3 each in May, but from October until the end of this month residents can exchange their pink $2 tags and receive a credit towards the new tags $3 tags.
“That’s more than $150 a year. That’s almost $200. That’s a week’s worth of groceries,” she sighed, regarding the $3 tags.
Her daughter, Carolyn MacKenzie, pointed out with ‘litterless lunches’ at Steele Street Public School means her son’s school doesn’t allow for garbage, so if he has some, he brings it back home. And, then there’s diapers.
According to a November city staff report, the cost of delivery of all waste management programs in the city is $168.08 per household. When the user fees, bag tags and provincial reimbursements are taken into consideration, the price drops to $110.45 a year.
The city figures it receives $209,601 in bag tag payments each year.
That’s a service that John Remmo, owner of Gio’s Italian Ristorante on Anne Street, said he’d like to see covered in his taxes.
Remmo said he puts out 10 bags of garbage weekly, as well as his recyclables.
“Half of my garbage that goes to the curb could be compost,” Remmo said. “I’ve called the city to ask about restaurants getting green bins, but I haven’t heard back from them.
“We pay our taxes and we want those services.”
Remmo said he doesn’t have to buy extra garbage bag tags for the extra nine bags, but wishes he could see green bins lined up at his curb instead of garbage bags.
After reviewing composting charges for businesses, Sandy Coulter, the city’s manager of environmental operations, said they couldn’t properly determine the cost and more importantly, revenue they would generate from picking up, sorting and composting restaurant organics.
“The cost is extremely variable,” Coulter said, explaining that restaurants and businesses, including industry, commercial and institutions, differ in size so taxing the businesses properly would be difficult.
However, the County of Simcoe is looking at the possibility of setting up an organic waste processing plant that could be up and running within the next five years.
The plant could have enough capacity to accept 30,000 tonnes of green-bin waste each year.
John Thompson, the city’s director of environmental services, said all the residents’ recycling and composting chores were taken into consideration when they wrote the waste management 20-year plan.
“When we reduce landfill usage and extend its life, it’s certainly to the benefit of everyone in Barrie to push those higher costs of a new landfill site as far out into the future as possible,” Thompson said.
Residents who already have pink $2 tags are asked to bring them to Allandale Recreation Centre, Parkview Centre for Seniors, Holly Community Centre or the finance department at city hall and pay the extra loonie to get new $3 tags.