City achieves waste reduction goals

Despite initial furor from the public, the city has so far achieved what it wanted when it cut back on garbage collection

Despite initial furor from the public, the city has so far achieved what it wanted when it cut back on garbage collection.

The city has reduced the amount of trash going into the landfill by 37 per cent compared to 26 per cent last year, according to a city solid waste collection report.

“It is clear that the change in service levels has been effective in encouraging residents to change their habits and has resulted in substantially less material being directed to the landfill,” Jennifer Peters, the city’s utilities manager, wrote.

According to the report, the amount of recyclables collected curbside has increased by 20 per cent, the volume of yard waste collected has gone up by 12 per cent and garbage output has been reduced 23 per cent.

“I think these are the results the city was looking for with this service,” Ron Neufeld, the city’s manager of operations, told council Tuesday night. What the city didn’t see coming was the uproar the change to one 80-litre can caused when the new restrictions were put in place in January.

“There were some difficulties at the start of the program as residents, Emterra (collection company) and the city adapted to the new program,” said Peters.

After 183 people, upset their trash had been left behind, flooded City Hall with calls, the city temporarily called off the new limit until April to allow residents to adjust to the changes while at the same time, provide tips to the public on how to cut down on their garbage. Despite the adjustment period, calls still came in.

“When the new regulations came into effect in April, there were still instances where residents were reporting confusion or frustration with the new level of service,” said Peters.

Most were finding their garbage had not been collected because they were filling just one can, but the can was too big. Others were still leaving two cans but not purchasing a $2 tag for the extra can.

“Many callers were initially upset but once they understood why their garbage was left and why the new rules were in place, most understood and were satisfied with the explanation,” said Peters. “A few callers were aggressive and not receptive to any explanation or assistance to understanding the new rules.”