New compost disposal fees are needed to cover the cost of cleaning up after people who don’t follow the rules, CEO Wendy Yaworski says.

“We’re hoping residents understand there’s a cost to managing the compost and wood piles and once we explain to them that there is, many really don’t have a problem with paying for disposing of their compost and wood."

REACT implemented a compost fee of up to $5 per truckload or 50 cents per bag effective May 1. These fees are separate from other increases to garbage disposal.

Staff constantly find plastic bags or flower pots mixed in with grass and leaves, Yaworski said. They’ll also find treated lumber, stained wood, particle board and garbage left in the wood piles. They must then remove all the inappropriate items.

“These products don’t only contaminate the pile, but they don’t break down and they put the site out of compliance.”

The communities of Watrous, LeRoy and Wakaw have all written to REACT protesting the compost fees, concerned that they'll lead to more compost thrown away in the landfill; increased demand on their municipal waste collection; and yard waste dumped on back roads and ditches. Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench also plans to contact REACT.

Yaworski said REACT might still be able to provide free compost disposal if people would follow the rules - but with the escalating cost of building and maintaining landfills, that’s not possible.

The garbage bag fee increases stem from REACT having to make its landfills conform to regulations the environment ministry is now enforcing.

A new landfill cell today costs $600,000, where cells used to only cost around $50,000.

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