Why do green-binned organic wastes need weekly pick up during the winter months, questioned some Red Deer city councillors.
Coun. Tanya Handley said many city residents are asking about the cost of sending organic waste pick up trucks out to every back lanes every week when there are no yard wastes this time of year — and won’t be until the snow melts in April or May.
Households produce only kitchen wastes this time of year, which can remain frozen in the green bins for a couple of weeks, she noted.
Handley and fellow councillor Lawrence Lee suggested it makes sense to have seasonal organics pick up every other week during the winter months — perhaps on alternating weeks with blue or black bins.
Lee questioned whether some cost savings,on utility bills could be achieved if the waste pickup contractor made less frequent runs?
Development services director Kelly Kloss said the city contact with the waste contract was worked out a couple of years ago, based on a weekly pick up of organics. The contractor made an investment in trucks to facilitate this.
While payment depends more on volume of waste than the frequency of pick-ups, less frequent seasonal organics runs can be discussed when the contact comes up for renewal in four years time, Kloss added.
He noted the cart system was adopted at minimal cost to residents — $1 a month extra, which only rises annually with inflation.
There’s also the matter of public education — Kloss said it’s taken time for city residents to adapt to the existing yearly garbage pick up schedule. To change it every fall and spring would require more advertising and more information dissemination.
He admitted this will be easier in future once the majority of Red Deer residents have signed on to the city’s automated information and alert system.
In the meantime, he said residents don’t have to put their green cart out every week if they don’t need to.
While Handley and Lee understand there’s a contract for weekly organics pick up, they both hope there will be opportunities to revisit this before four years are up.
“A contract should have clauses that are able to be reviewed to improve operations and also help the city out,” said Lee.
Handley said as long as residents are talking about the need to reduce the frequency of winter organics pick-ups, she will be keeping an eye on the program. “I’d like to see it reviewed.”
City budget talks will continue on Thursday.