There appears to be little interest in reducing residential curb-side garbage pickup to one container a week in the region’s rural areas, despite promised cost savings.
“It is controversial, it does need discussion, but it does also lead to probably one of the cheapest, most effective ways to reduce garbage going into our landfills,” said Cameron Baughen, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen’s solid waste co-ordinator.
He told a board committee meeting Thursday that about three quarters of the region’s households already put out just a single container every week, while those who don’t are more likely to fill their second containers with items that shouldn’t be there.
“Anecdotally, what I’ve seen in the waste audits is people still put recycling in there,” Baughen said.
“That’s where a lot of our weight in garbage is, is yard waste. Someone mows their lawn and that second bag of garbage is that grass.”
He estimated reducing the limit to one container would lead to about a 10 per cent reduction in tipping fees that would save the average household about $3.
Baughen also noted that the Town of Oliver, which halved its limit to one container in 2007, noticed a 73 per cent reduction in the weight of garbage collected between the 2005-08 period and 2009-11.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said residents there adapted quickly.
“We don’t get any calls anymore. After the first few months we didn’t get any,” he said.
“We saved a whack of money and it wasn’t really that much of a hardship.”
Some RDOS directors are worried, however, that dropping the limit, then forcing people to purchase a $2 tag to attach to additional bag, would be an unnecessary burden on families.
“They’re the ones that generate the most garbage and they’re the ones that are going to be paying extra,” said Allan Patton, the director for rural Oliver.
Michael Brydon, the director for West Bench, told colleagues he has six teenagers — three of his own and three hockey billets — in his home and has a hard time limiting output to one container weekly, even though he recycles as much as possible.
“It’s really a tax on people like me who have families or are disorganized,” Brydon said.
“I would like to see education first. If that doesn’t work, I would like to try this as a one-year pilot and see if we get the reductions,” he said.
Baughen will meet with rural directors individually in the months ahead and report back to the board. He’s eyeing July 1, 2014, as a possible start date with the reduced limit.