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Questions raised over town readiness for recycling program

Posted on July 8, 2015 by Taber Times

By J.W. Schnarr
Taber Times
jwschnarr@tabertimes.com

With the new three-bin recycling program slated to begin in the fall, and with a recycling and compost site still in development, questions have been raised about whether the town will be ready for the new system when it comes into effect.

Coun. Rick Popadynetz shook off those concerns, saying the town is more than ready.

“In 1983, we were talking about reducing, and reusing, and recycling, when we went to the metal bin system we have right now,” he said.

“This (new program) is 20 years behind its time. We are late. Our community is late putting this in place.

“California, Phoenix, Arizona, all these other centres already had this implemented when we were buying our big metal bins. So we are behind the times.

“I think we were ready in 1983, 1993, 2003, and now it’s 2015. We’re way behind. We’re ready.”

At a well-attended open house, Chief Administrative Officer Greg Birch outlined the nuts and bolts of the program, including addressing what he said were some common concerns heard by administration.

He said a common question from residents has been about where the bins will be stored when not in use.

The answer is wherever people are most comfortable storing them. Common places include along the side of houses or in garages, and Birch said the bins don’t take up a lot of space.

He also said a common complaint with the current system is the amount of noise created during early morning trash pick up.

He said the new system should not be as loud as the old one as the bins are smaller, plastic, and there is less banging involved in the process.

One concern about what might happen to the bins when the wind blows is mostly unfounded, said Birch.

In their research, the town has not found evidence the bins might blow away.

“The evidence we have when talking to people is that they will blow over when empty,” he said.

“They don’t blow down the street. They fall over, but the amount of material on the street creates friction. They don’t move very far once they have blown over.”

There were a number of points raised for which the town did not appear to have immediate answers for, however.

While the plan is to have handpicked garbage on the new system beginning in the fall, there currently is no sorting/recycling system in place.

Additionally, while the town has their eye on a site for their compost facility, work has not yet begun.

Birch said the town was currently looking into their options.

“As soon as we can find a simple solution for compost and recyclables, we’ll introduce that. And while we don’t know exactly when, we are figuring by spring next year, but we will figure that out. And then we will introduce the system of three carts throughout the town.”

The town is also unclear on the mechanics of the service itself, as far as how often pickups will need to be made.

Birch said the town is currently making projections based on how pickup services work in other communities.

“One of the things we’re just not sure about is how often we will have to pick these things up,” he said.

An additional question included how the town intended to police the trash program to protect it from residents who are not sorting their trash properly.

Mayor Henk DeVlieger said in all likelihood, a bylaw would be coming which could include fines for repeat offenders.

With all mechanized systems, there are opportunities for occasional failures.

Popadynetz said he was not sure whose responsibility it might be to clean the mess should these failures happen in town.

“That’s a question I can’t really answer,” he said.

Birch said there is still time to get everything straightened out before the program comes into effect.

“We have nine months to figure it out,” he said.

The plan is for all metal trash bins to be gone by the following summer.

The spring and fall cleanups will be unaffected by the new recycling program.

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