This article was originally published in the Teton Valley News on September 4, 2014. It is republished with permission.
On Monday, August 25th, a handful of citizens gathered at the county commissioner’s meeting to share their thoughts regarding proposed fee changes designed primarily to cover the cost of the landfill cap. Many voiced concerns, but the proposed fee increases still passed without any changes. Our county MUST cap the landfill, it WILL cost a lot (between $1.3 and $1.6 million), and it SHOULD be raised through user fees.
The annual solid waste user fee will increase 50% for households (from $105 to $157.50) and about 10% for commercial properties for one year only. Tipping fees at the transfer station will increase permanently beginning October 1st. The tipping fee for household waste will increase from $66 to $76 a ton, and from $5 to $10 for small self-haulers (less than 150 pounds). Sorted waste and recycling will remain free for up to 350 pounds, and will decrease from $30 to $15 a ton for more than 350 pounds. These changes and others will be updated on the county website.
The temporary increase in the annual solid waste user fee will impact everyone. However, individuals have control over their tipping fee costs. The less waste you create, the less you pay. Anyone interested in decreasing waste disposal costs can follow these simple steps.
- Recycle. Cardboard, paper, metal cans, glass, scrap metal, plastic bottles, and electronic waste make up an estimated 43.5% of the waste stream. Recycling is the easiest and fastest way to reduce your waste disposal costs.
- Compost. Food scraps, yard waste, and other organic material tend to be the heaviest items in household trash, comprising about 22% of the waste stream. Furthermore, composting removes smelly items from your trash, enabling you to store it for longer between trips to the transfer station.
- Divert. Many of the items in our waste stream don’t have to go to a landfill, including wood waste, wire, gypsum board, inert fill, brush, and manure. All sorted waste is free for up to 350 pounds and costs $15 a ton thereafter.
- Pre-cycle. A small shift in shopping habits can reduce a lot of waste. Buy loose vegetables rather than pre-packaged ones in bulky plastic tubs, buy in bulk, and look for items that come in recyclable containers.
- Swap. TVCR makes it easy to turn your trash into someone else’s treasure. Join the Teton Valley Swap Site through Facebook.
Following these steps can eliminate 70% or more of your waste, REDUCING your costs even as fees increase. At this rate, a family that currently pays $5 a week to dispose of trash at an annual cost of $240, could reduce trips to the transfer station to every three weeks, reducing their annual cost to $170 a year even as the price for self-haulers doubles. To learn more about ways to reduce waste, visit TVCR’s website at www.tetonrecycling.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation for your household or business.
Sources: Wyoming Solid Waste Diversion Study
Tanya Anderson is the executive director of Teton Valley Community Recycling. For more information visit tetonrecycling.org or email email@example.com.