There’s less than a month until garbage collection changes in the region, and if you want to know how you’re affected, you should probably check your mailbox.
Waste collection calendars were mailed to homeowners across the region this month to remind residents what their collection date will be as of Mar. 6, when the new contractors take over.
Included in the calendar are ten free garbage tags which can be used on your garbage if you find yourself with more bags than the limit allows. You will be able to purchase more of them if needed.
Mar. 6 is also the date when garbage will start being collected every other week. Blue boxes and green bins will be collected weekly. You will be allowed to put out four bags of garbage every two weeks.
Kathleen Barsoum, waste management coordinator for Waterloo Region, says they’ve had plenty of people coming in to pick up green bins and blue boxes in preparation for the changes. She says the four-bag limit shouldn’t be an issue for most people, according to curbside audits.
“We do know that from our studies during our multi-years of research to implement these changes that the majority of our residents are already well below these four bags per two weeks. As a matter of fact I think the number’s 86 per cent are already putting out two bags or less per week. It’s not a big, scary thing,” she said.
The new contractor for the townships, Emterra Environmental, is taking over from Plein and redesigning the routes. It’s important to note that collection trucks will begin their routes at 7 a.m., so you should have your garbage out before then – even if you’re used to it not being picked up until later in the day.
Garbage collection will change to Wednesdays for all Wellesley Township residents. Garbage will be collected on Thursdays and Fridays, depending where you live in Woolwich Township.
She says green bins have been delivered to all of the homes that previously were not part of the program.
“There were probably about 3,000 homes in the township areas that did not have green bin collection and had every second week blue box collection, so for them they get an increase in the service,” she said.
There’s no limit on how many green bins and blue boxes you can put out.
And she adds the township schools have consistently put out far more green carts – the green bin’s big brother – than any other schools, with Wellesley Public School putting out roughly a dozen green carts per week. That hasn’t been the case everywhere though.
“It had been a slow start, let me tell you. As home of the blue box, that surprised us. We didn’t expect that because we thought everyone would want to jump on board and there was such a big presence for green bins all across Ontario,” she said.
But she says they’ve been giving out around 1,000 green bins per week for the past six weeks as families prepare for the changes.
There will be no garbage exception for families with babies, but if they want to they can drop off used infant diapers in a clear bag at the landfill in Waterloo or the Cambridge waste management site.
Their waste studies have shown two-thirds of the amount of garbage ending up in the landfill could have been recycled.
The current landfill has 15 to 20 years left if we keep going at the rate we’re going. If we’re able to divert some of that waste, it could last longer. Regional engineering staff are looking into other technologies to deal with waste in the future.
“I think once we get used to it in our homes and how to sort I think it will be easier than people might think it is. That’s always the way it is with change.”