Town failing residents with garbage tag plan


  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 11:58 am

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Dear Editor,

I was very frustrated to witness the Town of Okotoks’ new policy in dealing with what they perceive to be overflowing garbage bins in residential collection routes. Bags of garbage that were left beside emptied bins, to scatter in the wind and be scavenged by birds were the result of initiatives to discourage Okotoks households from overfilling collection bins.

I strongly believe there must be a better way to approach this perceived problem that moves beyond the most recent changes that promote inefficient use of time and risk of hazard to the operator.

The resulting procedures of the initiative put in place leaves me questioning both the safety and efficiency of how excess garbage is being dealt with. A bin lid that does not close completely now results in the collection employee having to stop the vehicle, step out and remove the offending bag. I have to wonder exactly how safe this new procedure is.

Does this not put the employee at risk of injury due to various hazards such as passing vehicles, heavy bags or contact with hazardous materials such as broken glass? Didn’t Council just update the fleet to remove these hazards from the operator’s routine?

I find these recent changes take us right back to square one.

I am also left wondering how this new practice is affecting the efficiency in completing a collection route. Increased time to complete a route could result in communities at the end of the route having the potential to be missed as the employee’s work day has come to an end before the route does.

I see this new procedure as both a safety hazard, a practice in inefficiency as well as somewhat insulting to taxpaying citizens who don’t appreciate being patronized.

It is important that one does not mistake my frustration and disgust for not caring about an important issue that affects us all.

Yes, I am fully aware of the seven-week education program that resulted in education cards being attached to offending bins. I have been “educated” myself. All too often, when trying to comply with the rules, we all have a tendency to cram as much garbage as our bin will hold.

The result is a bin that doesn’t properly empty, leaving garbage in the bin after collection. I blame bad design of the bin, more so than human nature for this problem. To counter this issue people then refrain from cramming their garbage and the bin is sometimes left slightly ajar. Is this problem really worth the current solution?

I can only imagine the annoyance and shame of being one of the people in my neighborhood who arrived home, at the end of the day, to find a bag of garbage sitting beside their now empty bin. As both a parent and an educator, shaming is never a productive way to deal with behavioural issues.

Continued education and open conversation with the citizens of Okotoks, for alternative to the current practice, is what is required to promote a healthy learning environment; an environment that has us all working together.

Sherene Schmidtler,



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