It will take a while to roll out, but a cart program is on its way for Penticton.
The amount the city charges for collection won’t be changing, but garbage, yard waste and recycling containers will be replaced with a series of standardized bins.
Under the standard program, each residential property will be supplied with a 135-litre cart for weekly garbage collection and two 246-litre carts for bi-weekly recycling and yard waste collection, the latter limited to March through December.
Upsizing to a larger container will be available for an additional fee.
Public works manager Len Robson has been working with the carts at his own home and said he expects most homeowners to find the sizes of the three carts sufficient.
“I am a diligent recycler, my wife and daughter not so much,” said Robson, adding that they also have a guest staying. “Without spending too much time crunching boxes and milk cartons, I can easily use this every two weeks. It is the perfect size for a family of four.”
Switching the city over to a cart program was introduced to council in late September, when council asked staff to conduct a survey to see how residents felt about the change, particularly whether yard waste should be included.
Robson said the results of the phone survey, which contacted 303 people, was generally positive; 64 per cent support the desired the cart program for recycling and garbage collection, and 47 per cent supported it for yard waste.
Among those that didn’t support the cart program, the majority said they were unsure, or needed more information.
“There is definitely a need to educate the public on a cart program and also on the recycling program,” said Robson.
Part of the reason for moving ahead with this program now, according to director of operations Mitch Moroziuk, is pressure from the city’s waste collection contractor, who want to switch over to automated system, with a mechanical arm grasping the bins to tip them into the truck.
“There are issues with the ability to collect waste using people to lift the weight to put it into the truck,” said Moroziuk, explaining that the companies are seeing injuries and Workers’ Compensation claims.
“That won’t be an option pretty soon to even put out a bid to have your garbage collected that way. The firms won’t do it.”
Other benefits, according to Moroziuk, include better visuals with matching garbage carts, rather than various containers piled up on the side of the road and ease of use.
“I’ve been using bins for the last three years and I wouldn’t go back to bags or any of the other things. It is just way more convenient and easier to use.”
The cost of the initial bins is covered by financial returns through the Multi-Material BC program.
“We have been putting that money away. By the time we roll this program out there will be sufficient money to pay for all the carts that are required for the City of Penticton,” said Moroziuk.
It may take some time to put all the pieces together.
“I know we have roughly 14,000 customers in the city and there will be, probably on average, three bins per location,” said Moroziuk. “We are looking at fall implementation.”