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Environment

City of Lethbridge to introduce landfill surcharge

A new $50-per-tonne surcharge for businesses hauling recyclable materials to the Lethbridge landfill will soon be a reality for those hauling a disposal load with more than 25 per cent in recyclables. Jasmine Bala reports.

The City of Lethbridge is introducing a $50-per-tonne surcharge on business waste haulers if their loads to the landfill contain more than 25 per cent recyclable material.

The goal is to keep recyclable materials out of the landfill — including waste materials in construction and demolition — such as wood, drywall, metal and concrete.

READ MORE: Lethbridge one step closer to curbside recycling as materials recovery facility opens

The $50-per-tonne surcharge won’t be placed on the builders but on the haulers delivering waste loads.

“The surcharge directly affects the haulers of waste material,” said Alex Singbeil, the city’s business waste reduction consultant.

“So the charge [is applied] here at the landfill on that waste load, and then the hauler can choose how they would like to pass that back to their individual customers.”

But while the surcharge may not directly affect builders, Bridget Mearns, the executive officer of BILD Lethbridge Region, said they will still feel the consequences.

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“If there’s a hauler that’s hired and they don’t do the splitting out of the recycling and they absorb that extra surcharge, that will then be passed onto the customer,” Mearns said.

“In this case, it would be a builder. So it would be important for our builders to be asking their haulers what they do, or what they are doing, to pull out the recyclables.”

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Mearns, a former Lethbridge city councillor, said the construction industry in the city has been aware of the waste it’s producing.

“The home-building association, and our members specifically, have been very aware of diverting recyclables and recycling as much as they can,” Mearns said. “They are actually leaders in this and they do quite a bit on their own, but we do want to make sure we’re aligned with the city and move forward and do what we can.”

Singbeil said the hope with the surcharge is to reach targets set by the city of a 25 per cent reduction in waste from the commercial sector by 2021 and a 45 per cent reduction by 2030.

The city will begin inspecting loads and issuing warnings on July 2, with the surcharge officially coming into effect on Oct. 1.