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While many towns are struggling with the big increase in waste tipping fees, the Town of Cape St. George has gone the other way and is lowering garbage collection fees.
The reduction was made possible by the strong acceptance of the town’s backyard composting program implemented in July when the tipping fees at the St. George’s facility were slated to more than double.
Rather than buck the fees, Cape St. George embraced a backyard composting program and the town gave away backyard composters to any citizen that promised to make use of it. Those composters will easily pay for themselves over time.
It expected in 2019 that the town will be paying for about 100 tonnes of waste at the St. George facility, which is way down from more than 240 tonnes last year. That, according to Mayor Peter Fenwick, is a savings of more than $15,000 on an annual basis.
The town didn’t stop at distributing 200 composting bins to its residents last summer but also set up a community composting facility, refusing to send any organic material that can be composted to the transfer station in St. George’s.
Robert Cormier, a resident of the town, was surprised once he got into it how simple it was to carry out the backyard composting and not a bunch of work as he had envisioned.
He was quick to point out that if the contents are moved around just once a week it works out well and the astonishing part for him is that there’s no smell.
Another plus is that after about a year of composting you end up with soil that is great for use in the garden.
Cormier recommends the use of these backyard composters anywhere a person has a little bit of outside property to set them up.
Cape St. George has received awards for its efforts in recycling and was recognized as a model for what other communities should be doing when it comes to sending less waste to the landfill.
For years the proceeds of deposits from beverage containers have been credited to local schools in the town, helping pay for lunch programs and now for swimming rentals.
The town has even been innovative getting rid of tins cans that are collected by bringing them to the wreckage yard in Marche’s Point and placing them in wrecked cars that are later crushed and sent to the steel mills for reuse.
Because of all these items, along with cardboard not going to the transfer station, Cape St. George’s garbage fee is a full $25 less than other communities on the Port au Port Peninsula.
It is time for other communities to look at the model that Cape St. George has become in recycling and reuse. The large tipping fees are here to stay and likely will increase over time as fuel and other costs rise.
All it takes is for elected officials to get on board and push programs in their own community to make it happen.