More people in Bay Roberts are leaving recyclables in front of their homes for curbside pick-up than ever before, and the mayor hopes that trend continues as it helps the municipality save money.
“One of the things we’re trying to do is of course increase recycling,” Mayor Philip Wood told The Compass. “We’re doing it for two purposes. Obviously, for the environment, and also for cost.”
Under the current arrangement with the Eastern Waste Management, municipalities pay $67.60 per tonne for garbage dropped off at Robin Hood Bay. For recyclables, that numbers plummets to $20 per tonnes, giving towns an added incentive to encourage residents to separate recyclables from other forms of household waste.
According to the town’s data, approximately 74.6 tonnes was collected in 2018, the most in the town’s history since curbside collection was first introduced in 2012. The previous high came in at approximately 74.2 tonnes in 2016, and that total fell to 67.0 tonnes in 2017. As one might hope, the amount of regular waste the town collects has declined for each of the last three years. In 2018 the town collected 1,941.8 tonnes of regular waste, whereas in 2015 that figure was 2,307.7 tonnes.
Total tipping fees the town paid to drop off waste also declined each of the last three years. In 2015, the town paid $157,330. In 2018, that total dipped to $132,758, approximately $4,000 below the previous year’s total.
This may all be somewhat surprising too when taking into consideration the fact Bay Roberts is a growing town. For the last two Canadian censuses, Bay Roberts’ population jumped from just over 5,800 in 2011 to 6,000 in 2016.
At one point, the town used to pick up garbage from contractors, but now it does not. Mayor Wood said the presence of the Eastern Waste Management site in Harbour Grace has been helpful in this regard and for people looking to dispose of bulk garbage. The town also used to collect grass clipping, but now instead it offers residents the opportunity to drop off that waste, along with branches and leaves, at a community composting site on Central Street where the town has a shredder that chews it up.
“That’s been a big savings, because you can imagine a bag of grass, if it gets wet how heavy that is,” the mayor said.
The town has been making a concerted effort over the years to encourage more people to recycle. For the last three years, fridge magnets have been distributed showing the dates for collection.
The town is in a bit of a different situation with collection too for the fact it still uses municipal employees to handle the job. Most other municipalities contract the job out, with many now utilizing Eastern Waste Management itself for collection. Wood said the current arrangement is more efficient for the town and cost effective, while also bringing value by employing people locally.
“We just did an analysis in the last budget process, and at that particular time we felt (with) the savings, it was still to our advantage to collect it on our own,” he said.