The big changes coming this spring in garbage collection were highlighted for Red Deer city council Tuesday.
Council approved raising Red Deer utility bills by $1 million in 2018 (amounting to $1 a month per household) for the purchase of green carts – and for additional pick up of compost and organic waste from the carts beginning in April.
Less of an increase is needed in 2019, even though two more carts will be added — blue for recyclables and black for garbage.
Tim Ainscough, the city’s environmental services manager, explained cost savings will be achieved by a reduced refuse collection schedule.
Instead of weekly pick up of garbage, recycling and organic matter, which will require three different trucks in 2018, only two trucks will be needed weekly in 2019, said Ainscough.
In 2019, green carts will still be picked up weekly, but black or blue cart contents will alternate for bi-weekly pick up. This means some weeks, materials from green and black carts will be collected, while other weeks it will be from green and blue carts.
Ainscough said households will get a calendar to help them keep track of collections.
Coun. Tanya Handley did not vote for the utility increase, saying some community members have shared concerns with her about garbage not being picked up weekly in 2019.
Although Ainscough noted there would be much less garbage – and less smelly refuse – with weekly organic waste collection, Handley said having dirty diapers sit for two weeks was one concern expressed.
The rest of council endorsed the additional spending for the new garbage collection programs. Coun. Vesna Higham called them “excellent” initiatives.
Coun. Lawrence Lee summarized the general sentiment by mentioning how much he appreciates the extra lifespan the composting green cart will add to the local landfill by reducing garbage by about 39 per cent.