Shredding mattresses costs $8,000 more than fees charged for disposing of them and sofas bring in

Shredding more than 1,300 mattresses collected at the Thompson waste disposal grounds will cost up to $46,000 this year.

Council approved a resolution awarding the contract for the shredding of the mattresses to Tree Suns in a 6-1 vote at their July 13 meeting, with Coun. Duncan Wong casting the sole vote against.

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Public works director Neil MacLaine said the landfill received 1,366 mattresses, 387 couches and 321 love seats between July 2019 and May 2020. In addition to the standard dump fee, people who bring mattresses and couches to the dump pay an additional $20 while dumping a love seat costs $10. Revenue collected from these fees since last July totals $38,270 – nearly $8,000 less than cost of shredding them.

“The proper disposal process of mattresses is to bury them whole in a cell of the waste disposal grounds. This process would greatly reduce the current expected lifespan so [other] alternatives … to burying the mattresses are to ship them to a company in southern Manitoba for a processing fee of $30 per mattress plus shipping,” said MacLaine. “This process would also require a structure to be built for the storage pf the mattresses as they would have to be kept warm and dry.”

The contract prices for the shredding is $575 per hour, up from $550 in 2019, and the city will pay for up to 80 hours of work.

Wong asked if the price would be cheaper if the work was completed faster.

“The maximum would be 80 hours but if it happens to be 70 then we only pay for 70 hours,” said Mayor Colleen Smook. “That’s why it’s the cost per hour in the price.”

How those hours would be monitored was also of interest to Wong, who said that last year the machine arrived at the landfill on Friday night  and was gone by Monday morning, making him question whether 80 hours of work could have been completed in that time. MacLaine said that the waste disposal ground supervisor is responsible for that task.

Coun. Jeff Fountain said the city should try to lobby through the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) to get the province to enact legislation requiring furniture and mattress manufacturers to pay a levy to go towards their disposal.

“You’re kind of damned if you, do damned if you don’t in this situation,” he said. “if you don’t collect the mattresses at the landfill, they end up in the bush and if you charge too much it’s the same thing. The onus is on the disposer to pay for it and I think that a credit system or something a little bit more appropriate would serve us well.”

Coun. Kathy Valentino said a resolution on the subject had been brought to the floor of the latest AMM convention but was defeated.

“I don’t know what mechanism’s required in order to start another discussion at AMM on that issue because I haven’t done it before but I’d like to throw my support behind that now and get that ball rolling from my perspective anyways, for my single vote,” said Fountain.

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