Council moves towards garbage reduction limits

  • Apr. 13, 2016 3:05 p.m.

Red Deer City council has given first reading to a policy change that would see the residential waste collection program unit limit reduced from five units to three.

In alignment with the Waste Management Master Plan (WMMP), reducing the weekly unit limit for residential waste collection would make progress in reducing Red Deer’s per capita disposal rate to its target of 500 kg per capita per year, officials said.

Survey data of resident behaviour has shown that the average number of waste units set out by households in Red Deer is 1.8 units per week with 6% of residents consistently setting out four or more units on a weekly basis. A unit of waste is defined as a bag or can with a 100 litre capacity.

“We already know that the vast majority of households in Red Deer set out less than three units of waste each week,” said Janet Whitesell, waste management superintendent. “The proposed limit will help those households who are consistently setting out more waste each week to reevaluate their waste practices. With the ability to set out unlimited recycling and yard waste – it really drives residents to make smarter choices when putting out their garbage each week.”

Recent surveys show that 77% of residents indicated that they would support the limit reduction following the recent recycling expansion to include all numbered plastics in the blue box program.

“Plastics can often be bulky and take up a lot of space, by placing them in the blue box instead, which has no volume limit, it should help to cut down waste produced by most households.” said Whitesell.

Currently, the residential waste collection program allows residents to place up to five units of waste for weekly collection as well as unlimited recycling and yard waste collection. Residents currently, and will continue to, have the option of purchasing extra waste tags for $1 per tag, which can be affixed to a garbage bag. Extra units of waste set out without the extra waste tags are simply left behind and can be set out the following week, or taken to the Waste Management Facility.

Councillor Tanya Handley said she would not support first reading of the bylaw.

“As a family with three children I think this could be difficult,” she said.

Councillor Dianne Wyntjes said she will support the bylaw.

“I think we will see good results from this and I know not everyone agrees, but it’s changing our behaviours and patterns,” she said.

Mayor Tara Veer said she will support the bylaw because 77% of citizens support it.

“Even though this has been talked about for many years, the inability to move forward was bound by the fact that we had not expanded the recyclables option,” she said. “The expansion of the blue box program last fall is ultimately what has facilitated this.

“I fully support the free extra tags during the start up phases and during the holiday season as well.”

The bylaw amendment must pass second and third reading before going forward. The matter will be back for council discussion April 25th. If approved, the three unit limit would come into effect approximately two weeks after council’s final approval.

Meanwhile, council also heard on Monday that the blue (recyclables) and black (garbage) cart pilot is scheduled to start in Red Deer next month and will see collection frequency reduced to bi-weekly. A full scale bi-weekly blue and black cart program is scheduled for 2018 following the green cart (organic waste) roll out in 2017.