Christmas trees and lights can be recycled this holiday season

New tipping fees reduce construction waste rates

Until January 31, you can get rid of your tree for $2. Once January 31 rolls around, regular tipping fees apply again.

Once the holidays are done and the glow of lights is off the tree, don’t forget you can take your old Christmas tree and lights to the RDCK waste station where they will be happy to take the seasonal rejects for a nominal fee. Until January 31, you can get rid of your tree for $2. If you’ve got two, that’s the maximum you can toss, and it will cost you four bucks, but artificial trees aren’t part of the deal.

Strings of lights with or without bulbs, because heaven knows you’ve been holding on to those lightless strings year after year, will be accepted free of charge.

Once January 31 rolls around, regular tipping fees apply again.

The RDCK has made some resolutions too, and there are going to be some changes in the new year to waste facility user fees. As of New Year’s Day, mixed waste can be disposed of for $85 per tonne, up from the current rate of $80 a tonne.

Construction, demolition and renovation waste on the other hand is decreasing from $260 to $200 per tonne, partly due to a reassessment of costs revealed that the current rate was seen as higher than was fair.

“Actual costs were just over double what it costs to manage regular mixed waste,” Lauren Rethoret, the Environmental Services Coordinator for the RDCK explained, “To avoid subsidizing the disposal of one type of waste with fees for another, and out of fairness to local contractors, we lowered the … rate.”

Rethoret also mentioned illegal dumping as another reason for the decrease.

“We were concerned that [construction] waste was being disposed of illegally in order to avoid paying such a high … rate,” she related via email, “We hope that lowering it will encourage all residents and businesses to dispose of waste at designated landfills and transfer stations, where it can be managed properly.”

If you don’t have tonnes of garbage to get rid of, you won’t see much of a change in rate. Each bag or container will still be $2.50, and the minimum scale charge will remain $5.

But the changes to waste disposal in the RDCK are bigger than just fees, and Rethoret encourages residents to educate themselves.

“We really encourage all facility users to go online to review all the changes that this bylaw puts in place,” she said, “There are new restrictions on the disposal of certain types of controlled waste and, to avoid any surprises when visiting an RDCK facility, residents and businesses are advised to consult the new bylaw and user guides.”

The guides can be found at


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