New Brunswick

Sending trash to Nova Scotia could hurt Saint John environment, commission says

A private company wants to send the Saint John garbage it collects to Nova Scotia, but the regional waste commission says recycling and composting will suffer if it loses the business.

Private company's proposal to use its dump in Nova Scotia raises fears for environment in New Brunswick

Marc MacLeod, executive director and general manager of the Fundy Regional Service Commission, says recycling is subsidized by fees the commission charges for dumping garbage. (CBC)

A private company wants to send the Saint John garbage it collects to Nova Scotia, but the regional waste commission says recycling and composting will suffer if it loses the landfill business.

Garbage is the bread and butter of the Fundy Regional Service Commission, said Marc MacLeod, executive director and general manager.

The commission operates the Crane Mountain landfill, and without the income from landfill fees, there would be no money for environmentally friendly programs, he said.

"We're expected to fund diversion programs and a number of other programs through tip fees, and if the garbage is taken away then we won't be able to fund those programs anymore."

Fees support other services

A tip fee of $108 a tonne is charged to dump garbage in the landfill, subsidizing the not-profitable recycling and composting services, MacLeod said.

"We charge $28 for composting and zero dollars for recycling," he said. "The idea is the garbage at a high tip fee pays for the shortfall of the recycling and composting and household hazardous waste program."

MacLeod said he's learned that GFL Environmental, which collects garbage from apartment buildings and business, institutional and industrial customers, has applied to the province for a permit to build a transfer station in Saint John for the purpose of shipping garbage to Nova Scotia.

In Nova Scotia, the company can dump garbage in its own landfill for less money than the commission charges, he said.

The Toronto company wants to ship garbage to Nova Scotia from other New Brunswick municipalities as well, with a stop at the proposed transfer station in Saint John.

Confirms application

The Department of Environment and Local Government confirmed an application from GFL is being evaluated.

But spokesperson Marc André Chiasson couldn't say when a decision will be made.

MacLeod said GFL accounts for 10 per cent of the total tipping fees paid to the Fundy Regional Service Commission.

"You can't make money in composting, you can't make money in household hazardous waste," MacLeod said. "So someone has to pay for it.

"The ones who pay for it are the ones who produce garbage."

MacLeod said he's raised his concerns with officials at the province and hopes the transfer station will not be built.   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tori Weldon

Reporter

Tori Weldon is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been working for the CBC since 2008.

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