What does garbage and recycling cost us?

On March 22, 2011, in Speaking Up, by Justin

Residential Garbage

How much does it cost to collect and dispose of residential garbage?

  • The average cost in 2009 was $61 per household or $17.4 million per year.

How do we pay for garbage service?

  • You pay for it on your property taxes, which is about 4.5% of your tax bill.

Garbage collection and disposal costs per household. 2005: $68; 2006: $61; 2007: $58; 2008: $59; 2009: $61

Residential Recycling

How much does the recycling program cost?

  • The total cost of the recycling program was $9.8 million in 2009.
  • The net cost of the program after grants and the sale of recyclable material was $3.7 million – approximately $13 per household.

How do you pay for the cost of the recycling program?

We pay for the program through the Solid Waste Utility, which receives revenue from:

  • the sale of recyclables,
  • Manitoba Product Stewardship Corporation which provided $5.1 million in support in 2009.  MPSC is a provincial government agency that funded 80% of the net cost of residential recycling in Manitoba, and
  • disposal charges at the Brady Road Landfill

How much revenue is made from selling the recyclable material?

The revenue fluctuates from year-to-year based on the demand for each of the materials.  Over the past five years, the price per tonne of the total basket of recyclables has ranged from a low of $49.83 to a high of $107.63.

2005: $98.73; 2006: $59.25; 2007: $100.79; 2008: $107.63; 2009: $49.83

What does garbage and recycling cost the City?

Garbage Collection

  • $75 per tonne in 2009 – one of the lowest among Canadian cities
  • includes garbage from all residential and a small number of commercial properties

Residential garbage collection costs per tonne (2009): Ottawa: $73; Winnipeg: $75; London: $86; Toronto: $121; Sudbury: $146; Windsor: $187; Hamilton: $188
Garbage Disposal

  • $15.13 per tonne in 2009 – one of the lowest among Canadian cities
  • includes the maintenance and environmental monitoring of the 34 closed landfills
  • comes from residential, commercial, industrial, and other municipalities that use the Brady Road Landfill

Garbage disposal costs per tonne (2009): Winnipeg $15.13; London $20.94; Calgary $31.58; Ottawa $55.94; Sudbuy $67.49; Hamilton: $75.49
Recycling and Diversion

  • $75 per tonne in 2009 – one of the lowest among major Canadian cities
  • includes the curbside blue box collection program, Leaf-it depots, Chip-It depots, a backyard composing program, and 7 recycling depots

Winnipeg: $75; London: $129; Windsor $140; Hamilton: $182; Sudbury: $234; Ottawa: $276; Toronto: $311

What does this mean for the Garbage and Recycling Master Plan?

As we move towards creating a master plan for garbage, recycling and composting services in our city, we need to ask:

  • How much should we pay for these services?
  • How should we pay for these services?
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3 Responses to What does garbage and recycling cost us?

  1. Peter says:

    In additon to convenient alternatives for recycling and organics diversion, a graduated pay-as-you-throw model for garbage collection is needed. Toronto provides an excellent example by making available 4 sizes of garbage cart ranging from one to 4 1/2 bag capacity and charging accordingly on a waste utility bill that could be combined with the current water and sewer bill. Also added to the bill is a credit for current costs now charged to the property bill. For the smallest sized container, the credit exceeds the garbage charge. See http://gmf.fcm.ca/files/2010-SCC/Wednesday-Feb-10

  2. Peter says:

    4. Another cost that is not reckoned in is the (so far external) cost of the methane produced. What would it amount to if CO2e were valued at, say, $50 or $100/tonne? GHG emissions are a social cost even if they are not paid, through damages produced from climate change. Under a cap and trade regime, currently under review by the province, some actual payments will need to be made.

    5. Recycling is treated as incremental costs on top of garbage collection and disposal. If, however, most discards could be diverted to organic composting and recycling, then dry garbage collection could be done every other week. These savings plus the WRARS levy and rebate should be treated as offsets to the costs of recycling and composting.

    Recommendations: (1) Present a revised cost structure incorporating the items above, and (b) identify ways to recover additional costs for the recycling program from producers under extended producer responsibility (EPR). Recycling should end up at most zero net cost and preferably a profitable economic stimulus.

  3. Peter says:

    1. MPSC no longer exists. MMSM now provides funding for recycling.
    2. The WRARS levy and rebate now charges $10/tonne for garbage, which you save when you recycle instead, and pays out the money collected to municipalities in proportion to the waste diverted. This $10++/tonne difference between disposal and diversion does not appear in your calculations. One strategy to increase incentives for diversion is to get the province to increase the levy and payments.
    3. The cost of garbage covers only operating costs, with zero value for the land. You need to factor in a land value as well, even if it doesn't appear among current expenses. One way to do this is to estimate the replacement value for the land if you had to purchase an equivalent amount. Another way to think of it is what is the opportunity cost of using all this land as a dump rather than an industrial park. How much investment is the city foregoing under the current land-use?