Garbage collection in Red Deer will begin the switch to an automated cart system next spring.
In April 2018 residents will receive green carts to dispose of organics such as yard waste, food scraps and pet waste for year-round regular pickup and composting.
Then in spring 2019 they will get blue carts for recycling and black carts for regular garbage collection.
Automated trucks will pick up carts with a hydraulic arm. Green carts will be picked up every week, while blue and black carts will be picked up every other week.
Multi-family properties that use large dumpsters will not be part of the new system.
The new collection program will reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill by diverting organics and recyclables, as well as increase efficiency and help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
On Monday city council approved the cart system in a 6-2 vote. Coun. Buck Buchanan was absent.
Coun. Tanya Handley said she could not support the program because of the odour and storage problems that will be created by bi-weekly garbage pickup.
“We hear that odours are cut down when carts are used properly. There are going to be lots of people who don’t use their carts properly and just throw their garbage in the bin and it will smell,” Handley said.
She said leaving diapers in a black cart for two weeks in the sun is “vile.”
“I think recycling is great. Organics are great. I can’t support it at this time because of the bi-weekly pickup of garbage and the concerns that I’ve heard in the community.”
It is estimated the system will increase pickup costs $1.02 per month for residents in 2018. In 2019, utility fees for black carts will be based on the size of cart a household chooses. Black cart utility fees have not been determined, but larger ones will have larger fees.
Handley said larger families are also concerned about the costs they will incur.
The resolution approved by council was to implement the cart programs; approve $4.6 million from the Waste Management Capital Reserves for automated carts; a communication and education program to engage the public begin no later than June 15; and an implementation plan responding to citizen feedback come back to council for information in eight months.
Coun. Dianne Wyntjes, who opposed the resolution, said the pilot project with 2,000 households was successful, but many of the other 31,000 households may not be familiar with the city’s plans.
“I am certainly committed to the cart system for our city’s future but do not feel we’ve had the adequate engagement with the citizens,” Wyntjes said.