Mayor Peter Fenwick of Cape St. George said the start of the Sort-It program on the west coast has resulted in the loss of the town’s largest commercial customer for waste collection Atlantic Minerals.
He said this arrangement had been in effect for more than 20 years and was only cancelled when the town informed them they would have to sort their waste before it could be taken to the transfer station.
Fenwick said in a letter to Western Regional Waste Management that instead of working with the town to get the contract sorted the company took advantage of the loophole created by Western Regional Waste Management by exempting commercial waste from the Sort-It program.
He said now Atlantic Minerals will be putting their waste into a commercial bin for transportation to the transfer station without being sorted.
However, in an email reply to Fenwick, Jason King, chief administrative officer for Western Regional Waste Management, said this two-stream diversion program is being implemented in two stages with the residential rolled out in the St. George’s and Corner Brook sub-regions on July 16.
The Industrial, Commercial and Institutional stage, while no specific date is set, will see these entities brought on the Sort-It Western program in the near future.
King said due to the unique challenges businesses have in handling their waste streams, Western Regional Waste Management will hold consultations with various businesses within this sector to determine the best way to incorporate them into the Sort It Western program.
“This sector is in no way exempt from the program,” he said.
King said it was decided to first ensure a successful residential launch and concurrently do its due diligence with the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional sector before involving them into the program.
Fenwick said the loss of Atlantic Minerals will mean a loss of revenue for the town but with the new tipping fee increase they were barely breaking even and would have had to increase their fees next year to cover the higher costs.
He wants to know is why, when the town has to train 900 residents to sort their garbage that Atlantic Minerals with 150 employees, along with Wal-Mart, Dominion and other commercial enterprises, does not.
Regarding the tipping fee, King said all chargeable waste going to our transfer stations (from residents and commercial) will be charged the same tipping fee of $164/tonne and this includes businesses whether their waste is sorted or not.
He said it’s important to note that the Western Regional Waste Management does not get involved in any agreements between municipalities and commercial entities in their community.