Today’s Editorial July 11: Tipping fee should be charged

There’s money to be made in garbage.

And it’s time the Government started cashing in.

Minister of Infrastructure Arden McLean warned Friday that Government is considering implementing landfill tipping fees.

That means the Government plans to charge people who take their garbage to the George Town landfill and add to the ever-growing Mount Trashmore.

Tipping fees are charged at landfills throughout the world to encourage people to recycle and think twice before trucking their trash to garbage dumps.

While we don’t suggest a cost-prohibitive fee, any tipping fee implemented should eventually be raised until it includes the full costs of running a landfill.

Under those circumstances, people have strong reason to look for alternatives, like not making so much garbage in the first place, or recycling their garbage and selling the valuable parts rather than shipping them to a landfill.

And just because there is no Government-sanctioned recycling programme in the Cayman Islands, everyone who lives here can do his or her own recycling.

While we believe that tipping fees are a good way for Government to raise revenue to operate the George Town garbage dump, we are aware of inherent problems with such a fee.

Rates should probably be raised over a several-year period to minimize the shock and let people adjust to the new reality of expensive dumping.

Too, proper pricing may make it appear that Government is making profit on dumping, which can cause political problems.

There is also a danger that increased tipping rates may lead to increased illegal dumping, so increased law enforcement will be necessary as tipping fees rise.

There’s no evidence that our population is going to decrease; quite the opposite.

Add to that the garbage produced by visitors it’s easy to see that Mount Trashmore is going to continue to grow and get out of hand.

We’ve created the monster that is the dump and we should be paying for using it.

The tipping fee idea is just one that Government is considering as it grapples with the garbage dump dilemma.

We think it’s a good place to start.