Its residents facing the threat of two weeks’ worth of rotting garbage sitting around, Waterloo Region hopes to promote its costly and lightly used green bin program.
The region is shifting to bi-weekly garbage collection in March, limiting the number of bags to four. Along with saving money, the change is designed to boost the use of recycling bins – green and blue – which will continue to be collected weekly.
The goal is to get residents to change the way they think about garbage.
“We are not asking to necessarily change what you are purchasing or what you are getting rid of, we are just asking that it goes into a different box,” explained Cari Howard, waste management project manager with the region. “We are asking to rethink your waste, and basically we want people to use our sustainable waste disposal methods. The green bin and the blue box, those are the resources that should be used again, and are just lost and gone forever when they are put in the landfill.”
Part of those changes include the introduction of the green bin recycling program to residents of the townships that didn’t previously have access.
“Make sure that everything that belongs in the blue box goes into the blue box. Make sure everything that goes into the green bin goes into the green bin,” she said, adding that with that extra push to recycle, every household should be under the new four-bag, 200-lb limit. “It is actually a high limit. People don’t throw out that much garbage. Our studies show that 86 per cent of households across the region are already putting out two bags a week or less, so they are going to be just fine.”
Assigned garbage days will also be changing, streamlining the collection process. Howard says the idea was to save a bit of money and for all residents in the region to have the same access.
“One week, the trucks will be picking up in the townships and the city of Kitchener and the next week it will be Waterloo and Cambridge that will have the pickup,” she said. “With the changes taking effect, there is going to be overall cost savings and of course, council wanted to have one standard level of service for everyone.”
The hope, too, is to keep the landfill currently operated by the region going for a while. Currently, there is about 15 to 20 years left on the current site.
“That 15 to 20 years isn’t that long to try and come up with something else. We want to extend the life of that community asset, without trying to site something else or build something else, we want to try and extend that as much as possible,” said Howard. “Even with current population projections for the region, that is taken into account when we say there is 15 to 20 years left.”
To view a full list of the changes to waste collection, visit www.regionofwaterloo.ca/waste, or call 519-575-4400. All region residents will also be mailed a hard copy schedule of the changes.
“You can search by address, and the website will tell you your current information and what it is going to look like in March 2017,” said Howard.