Dumping a couch, toilet or refrigerator at the side of the road instead of paying $10 to put it in a landfill is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars in clean-up costs each time it happens.

In Vancouver, city inspectors sift through roadside trash and gather evidence in order to prosecute dumpers. The maximum fine is $2,000.

In 2011, it cost taxpayers $430,000 to pick up abandoned garbage in the municipality of Vancouver. The population there numbers about 603,000.

With a population of 210,000, Windsor, Ont., has a budget of $30,000 a year to deal with illegal dumping. The city has spent $23,000 so far this year.

Couches cost the city as much as $500 to haul away, and separate trucks are needed for toilets and other large appliances, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Bylaw enforcement deals with the issue on a complaint basis because of staff limitations, according to Anne Marie Albidone, manager of environmental services.

"We've tried to make the public drop-off as easy as possible," said Albidone.

Windsor-Essex currently has two drop-off depots, but officials are considering a few more to reduce roadside dumping.

Albidone said the two depots see 1,000 cars come through every day. It costs anywhere from $2 to $10 to drop off an item, depending on the weight.

Officials have been trying to be proactive in advertising legal dump zones by putting it in the garbage and recycle collection calendar.

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