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$40M new waste facility opens in Surrey with goals to reduce illegal dumping, travel times

Starting Friday morning, Central Surrey Recycling and Waste Centre will welcome small vehicles
An aerial view of the new Central Surrey Recycling and Waste Centre, in East Newton at 6711 154 St. (Contributed photo)

The new Central Surrey Recycling and Waste Centre opens to the public Friday morning (Sept. 9) with goals of reducing illegal dumping and also travel times for those who want to unload trash and recyclables.

Located in East Newton, the $40-million facility is designed for smaller vehicles – cars, pickups and vans – driven by residents of the region and small business operators. Anyone can bring stuff to the site, not only Surrey residents.

“This is just for hand-unloaded vehicles, not large trucks,” emphasized Paul Henderson, general manager of Solid Waste Services for Metro Vancouver, which operates the 1.7-hectare recycling/waste hub at 6711 154 St., previously a vacant lot, across the street from a business park.

“The facility design encourages people to recycle as much materials as they can, to maximize recycling, because they can do that first here, when they drive in,” Henderson added. “They can drop off their recyclables and then continue into the facility, or people can exit immediately. As soon as they go over the scales, that’s when fees are charged – they weigh in and weigh out.”

• RELATED: Illegal dumping up 15% in Surrey since pandemic began.


Central Surrey Recycling and Waste Centre - Nearing Completion from Metro Vancouver on Vimeo.

Most things can be recycled there for free, but not “paid recycling” items including clean wood, food scraps, green waste, gypsum and mattresses.

The list of “free” recyclables includes batteries, plastics, electronics, gasoline, light fixtures, paints, metals, clothing, propane tanks, small appliances and more.

Open seven days a week, 363 days a year, the facility will accept material beyond what is accepted in Surrey’s curbside collection program.

A 3,000-square-foot transfer building is where all the garbage and paid recyclables go.

“Materials delivered will not be odorous,” Metro Vancouver’s website promises, “and will include items such as residential and small business clean-up and renovation materials, recyclables, yard trimmings, lumber, bulky furniture, picture frames, mirrors, plastic wrapping and packaging. Metro Vancouver operates two similar facilities in Langley and Maple Ridge without noise, traffic or odour issues.”

Only mattresses are charged as a flat fee ($15); everything else is charged by weight.

“The typical load for a vehicle is about 200 kilograms, which is in the $30 range,” Henderson noted. “It’s not cheap but we think it’s really good value. The minimum fee we charge is $15.

“Our entire solid-waste system is paid for by tipping fees, so the fees we charge completely cover the cost of managing the solid-waste system, and that’s actually quite unique in Canada. Most areas in Canada put waste costs onto property tax, but our system here does not.”

• WATCH CONSTRUCTION OF THE SITE: Surrey’s new recycling/waste dropoff site takes shape near Newton business park

As for illegal dumping, Henderson said “a whole bunch of things” contribute to the problem, and one is people not having a convenient location to dump trash. “This is that facility, with relatively inexpensive fees. The hope is that this facility reduces illegal dumping, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle.”

Metro Vancouver bought the land from the City of Surrey in 2018, following a rezoning and development-permit process, and construction began in 2021.

Back in 2018, a traffic-impact study suggested the facility will see an average of 600 visits per day, but Henderson expects the number to be in the 400-500 range.

“It’s not insignificant but also not a giant number of trips,” he explained. “The number of larger trucks, service trucks, that number is quite small, an estimated three to five loads of waste per day, that range. From here, those big trucks go to a range of other facilities for materials processing.”

The Newton area was previously “a gap” in the region’s waste-collection system, Henderson said. “The reduction in travel kilometres, it’s two million kilometres saved by building this facility, because it’s closer for people to get to. I think that’s a big deal, and that’s a greenhouse-gas savings as well.”

Design features of the facility include three scales. “We can have two inbound scales or two outbound, with the middle one bi-directional, depending on the lineup situation, going out or coming in. It’s very flexible that way, the design,” Henderson noted.

Inspectors will make sure loads don’t include any explosives or hazardous materials, and will also direct people with “free” recyclables to that area of the site. If someone has a toaster in with the garbage, for example, they’ll be told to recycle it instead.

• RELATED STORY, from March 2021: Surrey’s new online ‘Waste Wizard’ helps residents sort through recyclables and trash.

Port Kells is home to the North Surrey Recycling and Waste Centre, which welcomes vehicles of all size. “We don’t have a full recycling depot there yet – it can accept some, but not to the extent we have here at Central Surrey, but we’re working on that there,” Henderson noted. “We’re working to have standardized collection of materials at all of our facilities.”

At the Central Surrey site, the $15 fee for mattresses dropoff is due to a lack of EPR (extended producer responsibility) tied to that product in B.C.

“A lot of the recyclables are part of stewardship programs, or EPRs – used oil, for example,” Henderson explained. “So if people buy a computer today, they pay an extra fee for the recycling of that product at the end of its life. So far that’s not in place for mattresses, although the province has indicated it wants to bring in an EPR program for mattresses. But right now we have to pay someone to process those, and we actually charge less than it costs us to process mattresses, because we want to encourage people to bring them here rather than dump them in a back lane somewhere.”

CLICK HERE for more details about the facility.

Operating hours of Central Surrey Recycling and Waste Centre:

Winter Hours (October 1 – March 31):

• Monday to Saturday: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

• Sunday and statutory holidays: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Summer Hours (April 1 – September 30):

• Monday to Saturday: 7:00 am to 6:00 pm

• Sunday and statutory holidays: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed December 25 and January 1)

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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