Okotoks: Program continues to grow after four years
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 01:28 pm
Okotoks residents could see changes to the Town’s curbside recycling after a review of the program is completed later this year.
The Town is planning to review its ‘curb-it’ recycling program to see whether any changes are needed as the number of people using the service continues to grow.
Okotoks operations manager Dave Robertson said it’s a good time to review the program because it is entering its fourth year and the company currently contracted to collect recyclables will stop doing so at the end of June.
“It’s time to sit down take a look here,” he said.
Okotoks-based Oscars Trash Service recently gave six months notice it will withdraw from the contract as of June 30. Oscars is the second company contracted with the Town to operate the program since it started. Officials with the company were not available for comment before the Western Wheel’s deadline.
Robertson said there will be no immediate changes to recycling collection and the Town will have something in place by the end of June to ensure no disruption in the service.
The program, which started in 2009, is optional to residents who are given two bins for recyclables at a cost of $9 every two months. People must pre-sort items between the two bins before it is collected at the curbside.
The recycling program has grown to more than 2,200 customers since it started and the program is still growing by a rate of about one customer per day.
Robertson said this represents 28 per cent of the 7,200 of homes that have their garbage collected by the Town.
He said they will look at a range of different options including potential changes to the program and whether it will continue to be contracted out or if the Town should take over collection.
“The program itself has changed, there’s other options,” he said. “Do we contract it out, is it worth now looking at bringing it in house, is it something we should look at changing?”
Robertson said many residents have asked the program to be similar to the recycling collection in Calgary were people can put all their recyclables into one large bin without needing to sort them. He said this would be an expensive option for the Town requiring more manpower and larger sorting facilities.
He said the Town could also look at what is being done to improve recycling on a regional basis to find other opportunities.
As the Town takes a look at recycling it’s gearing up to roll out larger bins for its automated garbage collection program.
As part of the program, homeowners were given new 120-litre garbage bins in spring 2012. The bins came under fire from many in the community who felt they were too small. As a result, Town council agreed to give people the option of getting larger 180-litre bins.
Roberson said he expects the new bins will be available sometime in March. The Town has ordered the bins and it’s expected to take between six and eight weeks for them to be delivered.
Coun. Florence Christophers said it’s a good time to review the recycling program.
She said the program could be tweaked. She said she has heard a number of complaints about the program, such as the plastic lids used for the bins and the need to cut down large pieces of cardboard to make them fit.
“There’s still stuff that has to go down to the (recycling) depot because it doesn’t fit in our boxes, so there’s little subtle things we could look at,” said Christophers.
She said she hopes the town could also look at the potential of recycling Styrofoam in the review.
Okotoks resident Vince d’Eon said bringing in larger garbage bins is a step backward, they should be focusing in the recycling program.
“My reaction is, gee why aren’t we encouraging more recycling?” he asked.
d’Eon said a lower garbage limit would force people to recycle more.
He said the current recycling system in town is good, but he acknowledges he doesn’t have any children.
He said he doesn’t think the Town needs to implement a similar system to what exists in Calgary where people can put all their recyclables in one bin.
“I don’t mind if I have to sort out my paper from my tin cans,” he said. “Frankly, it takes almost none of my time to do so. But, again, I’m not a household with a family of five.”
d’Eon said he also wants the Town to look at collecting food waste and other items that could be composted.