Region considers options for changing garbage pick-up

The Region is considering bag limits, bag tags and bi-weekly pick-ups for garbage collection. (Photo by Rebecca Allison)
The Region is considering bag limits, bag tags and bi-weekly pick-ups for garbage collection. (Photo by Rebecca Allison)

Bag limits, bag tags, or bi-weekly pick-ups; if only one was an option, which would you choose?

These are the three choices currently being considered by the Region of Waterloo in regard to cutting the cost of garbage pick-ups. All three considerations follow the purpose of cutting costs for the Region.

Bag limits will see a maximum amount of trash per week, whereas bag tags would have a pre-paid cost per bag. Bi-weekly pick up ­— similar to the model of the City of Toronto — would have garbage only being picked up every second week.

“Any one of the systems will certainly reduce the cost by reducing the amount that will go into landfill,” said Cambridge mayor and regional councilor, Doug Craig.

“The whole issue with anything that’s new is you have to convince people as to why it is important,” he continued. “We have to convince them of the environmental consequences of not doing that.”

“And if you don’t do [that] then the system won’t work.”

In terms of how these changes could affect students, Craig explained that it was a part of the wider issue of  green bin use and not “unique” to the student areas.

On the subject of when the changes could be seen, Craig was unable to give an exact timeline.

He explained that politicians would be against implementing any drastic changes a year before regional elections.

“I think when they do occur, hopefully it is put in place to explain to people thoroughly that they understand why it is important to go in this direction,” Craig added.

Region of Waterloo councilor Sean Strickland explained that contractual restrictions could play into the timeline.

“We have a current contract that we will be negotiating end of next year, so we are looking at probably 2015,” he said. “For sure we will have to communicate it quite broadly and rely on some of the universities internal communication mechanisms to let people know for example, we are going to a bi weekly pick-up.”

Strickland voiced his advocacy for the bi-weekly pick-up.

“For me, the bi-weekly I think is the most transparent, the easiest to do and less onerous on the homeowner and the people who are disposing garbage at the curb,” he said.

It also seemed to be a bit of a motivation for using a green bin.

‘That garbage is going to have to stick around your house for a couple weeks now,and the stink part is the organic,” Strickland said.

“So if you’re going to have that garbage bag around for a couple weeks better to sort your garbage so it’s less odorous and use your green bin.”

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