| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 11:28 am
The Town has been on a mission over the last two months to make sure residents put a lid on it – their garbage cans that is.
The town is cracking down on excess garbage, and starting this week will no longer pick up garbage that doesn't fit inside of the standard 120 litre garbage bins.
Starting on June 2, the Town's conservation educators began patrolling for carts whose lids were propped wide open by excess garbage or extra bags that were placed on top, and would then tag them.
“The way it worked was a three tag system, so if they had it several weeks in a row they would tag it each week telling them and educating them about the fact that excess garbage does go against the waste bylaw,” said Okotoks sustainability coordinator Dawn Smith, “And for them to learn about other ways to control or mitigate their garbage through recycling or using the odd excess waste bags, or the option of subscribing for additional garbage collection.”
During weeks one and two, the warning tags were meant to inform people about the options for excess garbage, but if they were tagged a third time, the tag notified them that excess garbage would not be collected at all, meaning that excess bags would be left behind, and if a cart was over flowing it may not be collected at all.
The tags were meant as an education system to prepare people who did have excess garbage the Town is tightening up and won't be collecting excess garbage anymore, period.
“We launched the curbside (garbage) program back in spring of 2012, and kind of in the beginning we had a soft compliance period for people to adapt to the change and the compliance period went on too long and this last education initiative is to get control of that,” Smith said.
On the first Monday, 300 tags were issued, but the next week on the same route it was down to 50. Conservation educator Charlotte Stalgitis said they're happy to see people complying.
“The ones that had the most garbage were usually the ones who didn't have recycling and that was something we went in knowing was going to happen, but as we went throughout the process we saw a lot more people getting the recycling bins as well using the yellow bags so that was great to see,” she said.
While a bit of extra garbage may not seem like big deal, Smith said it's important to be mindful of how much garbage we're throwing into the landfill.
“We only have one landfill, the Province is not planning on building anymore landfills so it is in out best interest from a financial perspective as well to limit our waste,” she said. “The sooner we fill our landfill, the cost to mitigate our waste will be more expensive in the long run. A lot of that product is valuable to be used again, we obviously want people to recycle rather than sending valuable material right to the landfill.”
While they're happy to see the garbage lids shut tight, they are offering a bit of a leeway and generally have a “two-fist rule” that allows lids to be propped up a bit to accommodate for odd shaped items.
Some excess garbage may be occasionally unavoidable, and the Town offers special yellow bags that can be purchased for $4 from the Town, Sobeys or Safeway, and will be collected along with regular garbage.
Households that have excess garbage on a regular basis, you can request an additional 120 Litre cart for $9 a month, or a 180 Litre cart for $13.50 per month.