Council votes to reduce the total number of garbage bags to the curb

HRM Release:

(December 7, 2010) HRM Regional Council tonight (Dec. 7) voted, in
principle, to amend the by-law for garbage collection and encourage more
recycling and composting.

Staff will now draft by-law changes proposed in the report on diversion
initiatives which are highlighted by cutting the number of bags for
collection from six bags to four.

There is still more work to do and more approvals needed by Council
before any changes are made.  Most importantly, there will be a chance
for the public to have its say before any changes to the collection
system are given final approval.

The last change in bag limits – a reduction in the bag limit from ten
to six bags – was put in place over three years ago.  It was done to
enhance HRM’s goal to reduce waste from our landfill.  A waste audit
showed a 15 percent improvement since 2004 in the amount of residential
garbage headed to the landfill and redirected to the other waste

However, the audit also showed there was room for improvement.  Results
found over 30 percent of items in the garbage put to the curb by
residents should have been composted or recycled.  That figure rose to
50 percent for apartments and the commercial/institutional sector.

To help apartment property owners improve their numbers, the report
proposes a new mini bin system for their unit holders.  The report
suggests that property owners and property management companies can
undertake bulk purchasing of bins (ranging between $2 to $3.75/unit) to
achieve cost efficiencies.  HRM would assist property management firms
with educating property owners to teach their tenants how the system
would work and conducting waste audits.  A pilot project with the mini
bins produced positive results, supporting the recommendation.

To assist citizens with the change in the number of bags collected, the
report proposed adding additional plastics (#s 3, 5 and 7) to the list
of recyclables.  This would only leave one ‘plastic’ in the waste
system – Styrofoam.

Recommendations presented to Council came forward from the Solid Waste
Resource Advisory Committee – a special committee of Council that looks
at solid waste management issues.

The changes, if adopted, could also provide HRM with a number of
operational and capital costs which could see HRM save millions of
dollars a year for reducing organics and recyclables wrongly going to
the landfill and having to be dealt with at Otter Lake.

The complete report can be found on the HRM website at:

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