Red Deer City council has reduced the residential waste collection limits from five units to three and the new bylaw will come into effect next month.
Council passed third and final reading to reduce the residential waste collection limit at Monday night’s meeting.
The three unit limit will come into effect in mid-May. A unit of waste is defined in the bylaw as a bag or can with a 100 litre capacity so residents will now be able to set out a total of 300 litres of waste each week whether it’s in bags or cans.
“This is definitely a step in the right direction with what we are trying to accomplish with the Waste Management Master Plan,” said Keran Braich, waste diversion specialist. “We understand that this change will call for some households to make some changes to their waste practices, but the positive effects this will have on both the longevity of the landfill and the environment will be well worth it.”
The move is in alignment with the Waste Management Master Plan (WMMP) to reduce Red Deer’s per capita disposal rate to its target of 500 kg per capita per year. Recent surveys and waste audits show that approximately 94% of Red Deer households are already setting out three units of waste or less each week, with the average household setting out 1.8 units of waste on a weekly basis.
“We feel the timing is right to make this change,” said Braich. “Residents can recycle more than ever now that numbered plastics can go in the blue box, and this new limit will help prepare residents for 2018 when the blue and black cart pilot program wraps up and we look to roll out the full scale automated cart program City-wide.”
First reading was given to the bylaw earlier this month and a number of letters of concern from residents were received by the City. Some comments included people could possibly get frustrated if they set out more than the allowed amount of garbage and it is not picked up – waste could end up being thrown in ditches or set it out by their neighbours’. Other said the waste should be proportionate to household size and others said the new bylaw “victimizes” large and multi-generational families who choose to live communally.
To help residents transition to the new three unit limit, the City will be providing each household with a number of courtesy waste tags to use at their convenience. Outside the provided courtesy waste tags, residents will still be able to purchase extra waste tags for $1 each through City of Red Deer facilities including City Hall, G.H. Dawe, Collicutt Centre and the Recreation Centre.