Attending a clean-up of illegally-dumped material is a great opportunity to examine a dump pile. The layers are like a cake – the bottom layer is usually someone’s yard waste. The yard waste then acts as a marker for other illegal dumpers to bring their materials. The next Campbell River-area clean-up is planned for Nov. 19.

Illegal dumping in the Strathcona Regional District – examine your assumptions

By Luisa Richardson

Are you among those who think that people dump their household waste in the woods because they can’t afford the landfill fees?

Spending time with the volunteers who clean up these illegal dump sites could quickly cause you to change your mind.

The people who dump stuff seem to have lots of disposable income – why else would they be getting rid of TV’s, furniture, household appliances, carpeting, toilets, landscaping supplies and household chemicals, if not to make space for newer items? Sometimes, they even include the packaging for the replacement items.

If you are still not convinced, consider where people dump – they use a vehicle and gas to drive to rural locations, often driving right past the Campbell River waste management centre.

Attending a clean-up of illegally-dumped material is a great opportunity to examine a dump pile.

The layers are like a cake – the bottom layer is usually someone’s yard waste.

The yard waste then acts as a marker for other illegal dumpers to bring their materials.

The next clean-up is planned for Nov. 19, details below.

You will find many recyclable items: tires, fluorescent lights, Styrofoam containers, fridges, small appliances, flat screen T.Vs, metal and more.

Everything on this list could have been recycled – much of it in town.

Every illegal pile also includes stuff that may not be recyclable: household furniture, construction material, roof or floor tiles, clothing, food, used baby diapers and other household garbage.

What would it really have cost to properly dispose of these items at the landfill?

For $10, you can drop the following item off at the Campbell River waste management centre:

• 100 Kg or about 6 bags of household garbage

• 5 twin or 3 queen mattresses

• 4 bundles of shingles

• 4 wooden fence panels

If you or someone you know has spotted an illegal dumper please call 1-800-331-6007 or visit www.cswm.ca/illegaldumping.

Or join volunteers at the next clean-up, starting at 10 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 19. To reach the meeting place, turn west at the junction of Highways 19 and 28, drive approx 2 km (towards Gold River). Turn right at the truck crossing sign and head over the bridge and up the hill.

Luisa Richardson is an Educator for Comox Strathcona Waste Management, a service that manages over 100,000 tonnes of waste and recycled material and oversees a number of diversion and education programs.