- Thunder Bay, Canada is considering a solid waste plan that would raise property taxes to cover the city's recycling program. The city estimates this could generate an additional $1.75 million (CAD) in 2017.
- Landfill tipping fees currently cover the program, but officials say that money is needed to pay for new leachate treatment and gas collection systems.
- The city has already raised tipping fees by more than $20 per metric ton in the last five years.
Thunder Bay has been looking for a new way to cover its costs in recent years and other municipalities in the Ontario region have taken this approach. Due to the city's successful recycling and e-waste diversion programs, the landfill has received less tonnage and in turn less money from tipping fees. With site capping and other projects coming up the city would otherwise have to borrow money to complete them.
Using property taxes to help cover waste costs isn't uncommon in the U.S. either. Reno County, KS recently considered a $100 per year increase in property taxes — calling it a "necessary evil" — to help cover landfill costs. Many other cities have some form of a pay-as-you-throw system as well, which asks residents to contribute to the cost of their waste disposal in a slightly different way.
It's unclear whether the recently passed Waste-Free Ontario Act will have a direct effect on these types of local matters, but it's likely to spur larger regional changes. In an effort to reach "zero waste," the plan looks to shift the cost of recycling from residents to producers and reduce landfill use.