City council gave the go-ahead to a City-wide roll-out of the Cart Pilot Project for waste and recyclables on Monday.
In April of 2018, residents will receive green carts to dispose of organics, such as yard waste, food scraps and pet waste for year-round, regular pickup and composting.
In early 2019, residents will also receive blue carts for recycling and black carts for regular garbage collection.
“This is part of our long-term plan to reduce waste, associated greenhouse gas emissions and prolong the life of our landfill,” said Janet Whitesell, waste management superintendent with the City of Red Deer. “Automated waste collection is evolving from an industry best practice to an industry standard and we are excited to be moving in this direction.”
Council passed the motion with an amendment adding that a communication and education campaign will be launched in the fall for residents. Also, that, “An implementation plan responding to citizen feedback (would) come back to council for information in eight month’s time.” Mayor Tara Veer had noted that council is committed to engagement with the community, and therefore it was important to note that there are some 29,000 households – not a part of the pilot – that hadn’t had that ‘robust engagement’.
“We want to be in a position to be responsive to that,” she said.
City Manager Craig Curtis also noted that, “Essentially, the pilot project was a ‘real-time’ engagement of the plan, not just a theory of how it might unfold.”
Councillor Lawrence Lee said he felt there had been significant public dialogue to date. “Change is difficult, but also it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to make things better, and I think that’s our job as council – to do things everyday that make Red Deer a better community to be a part of,” he said. Councillor Paul Harris’ residence was a part of the pilot project, and he said it was a success from the get-go.
“It changed the appearance of our street really quickly, and we really appreciated that,” he said. “We had absolutely no trouble with it at all.”
Meanwhile, looking ahead, an automated truck will pick up the carts with a hydraulic arm. Council was also told that residents will be able to choose the size of cart that best suits their needs and that cart collection schedule for all three carts will alternate.
Green carts will be picked up every week, and waste and recycling carts (blue and black) will be picked up every other week.
Under the pilot program, which involved 2,000 households, participating households were chosen to match the demographics of the City as a whole, said Whitesell.
The pilot was about reducing waste and testing the details to put together the best recommendations for a City-wide program.
Councillor Dianne Wyntjes said she felt that those households in the City who hadn’t been a part of the pilot project needed to be more aware of the details before full implementation took place. “I can’t help but think we are doing this ‘to’ our 29,000 households who weren’t in the pilot instead of ‘with’ them.”
Whitesell said that since the pilot program began, households involved have set out an average of 27 kg of garbage per household per month. During the same time period, non-pilot households set out an average of 44 kg per household per month. This represents a 39% reduction in garbage, she said. “When this data started coming in, it was really exciting for us because it was directly in-line with our pre-pilot (program) estimate of how much waste we thought could be diverted from the garbage into the green cart program.”
For more information, visit reddeer.ca/waste.