City council got their first look at a new waste management plan for the City on Monday.
It aims to reduce the per capita amount of waste that goes to Red Deer’s landfill through reduction, recycling and diversion. But council wants to hear what the public and business community thinks of it before proceeding.
In 2011 the City dumped nearly 75,000 tonnes of waste into the landfill site, which works out to 812 kg per person. The plan would reduce that to 500 kg per capita by 2023. In comparison the Canadian average is currently 812 kg per capita and the Alberta average is 1,122 kg per capita.
Much of the plan is aimed at the commercial sector, which produces 63% of Red Deer’s waste, compared to 30% by single-family residential. But it would include reducing the number of garbage bags residents can set out (down to three, and then two, from the current five) and expanded plastics collection and organic collection planned for 2015.
Janet Whitesell, waste management superintendent with Red Deer’s Environmental Services, says, “Averaged over 10 years, the implementation of all proposed programs and services will increase the City’s waste budget by 4.6 per cent. The plan will only succeed if the public buys in. If this isn’t what the public wants to see, we need to know that.”
Councillor Buck Buchanan added that the City is moving in the right direction.
“It’s always tough to change behaviours, but (the plan) is very comprehensive. It’s moving in the right direction but it’s very hard to get everybody on the same page and we need to get people comfortable with it. (But) it’s a good change.”
Councillor Paul Harris says, “I’m absolutely thrilled with (the new) waste management plan. I’m especially happy with more plastics recycling, that’s a big thing that the community’s been asking for. I’m a little concerned about the timeline to 2023, that’s 10 years.
“Perhaps we can shorten that, or lengthen it, depending on how the public goes along with it. But (I think) the public is ready.”
Councillor Cindy Jefferies added that residents should be pleased, especially about adding to recyclables.
“I really like how they (City administration and consultants) took a look at the composition of our waste. These are the areas where we have the most waste, construction and development kind of waste. It’s targeted, it’s very strategic.”
Later this year the plan will come back to council for adoption after the public and businesses provide some feedback through yet to be publicized opportunities for consultation.