Garbage changes eyed

utomated pickup and a reduction in the current bag limit are among changes being proposed as the City of Red Deer works out a new contract for garbage collection.

Automated pickup and a reduction in the current bag limit are among changes being proposed as the City of Red Deer works out a new contract for garbage collection.

The city’s contract is up for renewal in October 2010. That gives the Environmental Services Department an opportunity to make changes in how both trash and recycling are handled, waste management superintendent Janet Whitesell told the Environmental Advisory Committee this week.

Options being contemplated include reducing the five-bag limit for single family houses, said Whitesell. In response to a question from city Councillor Larry Pimm, she said there is potential to supply additional bag tags at times of high use, such as Christmas.

Whitesell also described the department’s wish to operate a pilot project using automated collection, in which household waste is placed in specially designed bins.

Bins supplied for residential users are picked up and dumped by a truck-mounted mechanism.

Chief among the benefits of such a system is that it reduces the incidence of injury to people providing the service, said Whitesell.

Regarding questions about the effect the bins would have on the appearance of residential streets, city bylaws already require that people contain their trash and keep bin areas cleaned up.

Tom Warder, manager of environmental services, said the contract revisions are aimed primarily at reducing the amount of trash going into the landfill. Officials hope that reducing the bag limit will encourage people to recycle more of their household waste.

Waste management officials are also looking at changes to the dropoff recycling bins currently located at Cannery Row Bingo.

Because the bins are available at all hours of all days, there are still abuses, including people dropping off household furniture and other goods that cannot be recycled, said Whitesell. There is also an issue of litter building up around the site, she said.

While in the process of writing its new waste collection contracts, the city could consider some other options for offering recycling.

Although recycling pickup is available for single and multi-family dwellings, roughly 10 per cent of all recyclables are collected at the dropoff site, said Whitesell.

Options for reducing abuse could include setting up dropoffs at the landfill station and at the city’s new yards by Three Mile Bend, she said.

That way, the hours of operation could be limited and there would be someone on hand to ensure that the bins are used properly, she said.

Warder said the city will start negotiating a new trash collection contract in January.

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