Are you among those who think that people dump their household waste in the woods because they’re lazy, or because they can’t afford landfill fees?
If you do, you should join the volunteers who clean-up illegal dump piles. What you discover might change your mind.
In fact, people who dump miscellaneous items in the bush seem to have lots of disposable income – why else would they toss 52-inch flatscreen TVs, furniture, household appliances, carpeting and toilets, if not to make space for newer items?
Sometimes, they even include the packaging for the replacement items.
Still not convinced? Consider where people dump – they use a vehicle and fuel to drive to the back roads, often close to, or past, the Alberni Valley Landfill.
Dump clean-ups offer a great opportunity to examine a dump pile – a little like the layers of a cake.
Layer 1. The bottom layer is usually someone’s yard waste. People think yard waste is OK in the forests, but it’s not! Not only does yard waste act as a marker for other dumpers to bring their materials, but it can also spread introduced plants that become invasive and compete with natural vegetation.
Layer 2. In a typical dump pile, you’ll also find many recyclable items: tires, fluorescent lights, styrofoam containers, fridges, small appliances, flatscreen TVs, metal and more. Everything on this list could have been recycled!
Layer 3. Every illegal pile also includes items that may not be recyclable, such as household furniture, construction material, roof or floor tiles, clothing, food and household garbage. What would it really have cost to take this material to the Alberni Valley Landfill or the ACRD Recycling Depot?
It only costs $12 to drop-off approximately 200 lbs or 92kg of garbage (based on a rate of $130/tonne effective Nov. 1). Mattresses can be dropped off at INEO on 2nd Ave. for $15, where the entire mattress ends up being dismantled and recycled. Dropping it at the landfill costs $20.
Illegal dumping is not free – there’s a cost to taxpayers, wildlife, tourism and the community.
There are alternatives.
Learn more about what can and cannot be recycled curb-side and at Recycle BC depots at recyclebc.ca/what-can-i-recycle. For other recycling services in the Alberni Valley visit acrd.bc.ca/recycling. For information on tipping fees at the Alberni Valley landfill visit acrd.bc.ca/alberni-valley-landfill.