New dumping fee targets mattresses and box springs
By Sandra Thomas, Vancouver CourierJanuary 5, 2011
The co-owner of a company dedicated to recycling mattresses wants Metro Vancouver landfills, including the South Vancouver Transfer Station, to ban them all together.
"They should be treated the same as prohibited substances like drywall or batteries," said Zac Plavsic, who in 2008 launched Burnaby-based Mattressrecycling.ca with business partners Fabio Scaldaferri and Trent Robillard.
Plavsic hopes a new fee to dump old mattresses or box springs at the transfer station or the Vancouver landfill in Delta introduced by the City of Vancouver last week will encourage more residents to recycle. As of Jan. 1, an additional $20 will be charged for mattresses, which will no longer be considered general garbage. If a mattress is dropped off at the transfer station or the Vancouver landfill, it must be kept separate from other garbage so it remains clean and can be recycled. Up to four mattresses per customer will be accepted at the transfer station and a maximum of eight per customer at the landfill.
When Plavsic and his partners discovered between 100,000 and 150,000 mattresses are dumped annually in Metro Vancouver, they were concerned about the huge amount of space they take up in landfills due to the fact they can't be compacted. Mattressrecycling.ca charges $55 to pick up a mattress from a residence plus an additional $14 to recycle it. Or they can be dropped off at their facility on North Fraser Way for $14. Box springs are an additional $14 to recycle.
Also effective Jan. 1 in Vancouver, clean wood waste, including unpainted, unstained and untreated solid plywood, particle board and oriented strand board will now be accepted at $63 per tonne, the same rate as yard trimmings. Clean wood waste will be composted rather than dumped in the landfill.
Vision Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer said mattresses and wood waste are being targeted because they make up such a large amount of what ends up in landfills. In 2006, the total waste generated in Metro Vancouver was 3.4 million tonnes, with 1.5 million tones disposed. Of that, 350,000 tonnes was made up from wood waste.
"The wood waste we are targeting accounts for about 100,000 tonnes," said Reimer.
She added the rest of the wood waste comes from demolition, which will require changes to building permits before it can be properly recycled. Reimer noted the city is working on a pilot de-construction program for 2011 to research how to handle wood waste more effectively.
Reimer said mattresses were targeted because of their bulk, weight and the fact they're almost 100 per cent recyclable or compostable.
Asked if the new $20 charge for mattresses might encourage more residents to discard them in alleys, Reimer said, "That's always a concern. The challenge is often having a vehicle large enough to deal with a mattress, but now there are companies out there that will take them away for you and we hope residents will turn to those services."
Visit metrovancouver.org for pick up and drop off options for recycling mattresses.