Rethinking Garbage

Garbage – it’s personal; we all create it and that’s why the City needs to rethink waste.   Not just for today, but for the future of our community.

In January 2011, Barrie began work on a Sustainable Waste Management Strategy and action plans for responsible changes to our waste collection, diversion and disposal systems over the next 20 years.  The new changes to curbside collection being considered by Council are not only financially responsible, it is environmentally responsible and needs to be part of our long term sustainable growth.

So here’s why we did it.  More than 70% of our garbage should actually be going in our green, blue, or grey bin.  We just aren’t using our recycling and organics bins to the extent we should – only 45% of our waste is diverted, 55% still ends up in our landfill.  Because of that, we’re running out of landfill space. Run out of landfill space, and we will have to truck our garbage to Michigan at enormous cost to all of us.

Biweekly pickup increases waste diversion by 10% which will extend the life of the landfill and save all of us big time down the road. Blue, grey, green bins will still be picked up weekly and you’d be surprised how much of what you throw out today can actually go in one of those bins. Short version: this is an unpopular decision, we know it will be unpopular, but Council made it because its the right thing to do for us and for our kids.

It’s about rethinking waste and what we do with it each week.  Garbage is for waste that cannot be composted or recycled. Recycling is for mixed household containers/packaging and paper products.  The Green Bin (organics) is for food scraps, food soiled paper and meat, bone and dairy products.

It might appear to be easier to put everything in a black garbage bag, but with unlimited access to recycling and the green bin every week, and new items being added to the program, you will actually have less waste around your home every week; which also means less waste in our landfill.  What garbage you are unable to recycle or put in the green bin can be placed at the curb every other week beginning January 2015.

How you can rethink waste:

–      Unlimited recycling and organics every week; plus new items are being added to the program, such as film plastic, including plastic bags and empty paint and aerosol cans. These new items can be added as of April 2014

–      Two bags of garbage every other week beginning January 5, 2015.

–      Put food scraps, food soiled paper in the green bin which will be picked up curbside every week.

–      Residents are able to put out an unlimited amount recycling boxes and green bins.

 

I know a lot of people aren’t going to like this change.  It saves all of us $400,000 per year, but that’s not why we did it.  We did this because if we don’t do it, we’re all going to be paying for it in the long run.  And it’s far better for the environment than what we are doing today.

I’d like to think that this Council has the guts to make an unpopular decision when we know it’s the right thing to do.  I think this is one of those situations.  Comments welcome as always!