Pay As You Go Trash Does Not Address Problem

By David Hill, Ward 3 Councillor

Good day Barrhaven!

Well it is clear to me from my inbox over the past few weeks what is on the mind of folks in the community.  The proposed ‘Pay as you Throw – Bag and Tag’ curbside waste programme.  Let me be clear up front, I am not supportive of this proposal in its current form.

Firstly, restricting curbside pickup to two bags of garbage every two weeks does not address the main issue – our landfill will expire in the next 15-25 years and we need a permanent, sustainable, long-term solution. The City needs to identify realistic and appropriate options, of which there are many, including: incineration, waste to energy, renewable natural gas, next generation landfill, and co-operation with other Municipalities. All of which will come with costs, advantages and disadvantages but what they have in common is providing a long term solution to a problem that has been kicked down the road for too long.

Secondly, the proposed ‘bag and tag’ model will only extend the life of the Trail landfill by two years.  This is an inadequate return on investment for the increased annual cost of administration for this program of over $1.5 million dollars per year.  That money should instead be invested in the solid waste reserve fund in order to pay for an amortized long term solution.  In this way, we avoid the additional bureaucratic costs and illegal dumping issues that would follow a ‘bag and tag’ programme, while still moving forward on addressing our larger waste management crisis.

Furthermore, I would like to see increased public education and engagement, better access to green bins in multiplexes and enforcement of a biweekly ‘four bags no tags’ curbside pickup policy.  This would allow for continued support to families of all sizes, continued improvement in our diversion strategy, and an enhanced environmental stewardship in a non-punitive manner.

I look forward to debating this topic in committee and  council.  I will be fighting hard for a common sense outcome that meets our long-term landfill and environmental requirements without penalizing large families and lower income residents.  I have spoken to many of you on this topic and want to continue to be engaged – please send me an email and I would be happy to chat further on this topic.  If you are interested to follow this debate, the report on the ‘Bag and Tag’ model will come to the Environment Committee on the 5 June at 0930 and then to council likely on the 14 June at 1000.

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