This is my follow up to asking questions to the Region of Waterloo and Waste management for Waterloo region.
WR Waste Management (Twitter @WasteWR) has posted an FAQ regarding the changes coming.
I went through their list compared to my questions. Since it’s best to visit their website, I’ll just post their FAQ website link here, and you can visit their site for the answers.
FAQ Link: http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/aboutTheEnvironment/Possible-Curbside-Changes-FAQs.asp
Green Bin FAQ Link: http://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/aboutTheEnvironment/Green_Bin_Organics.asp
1. What size of bag? Weight limit per bag?
– Answered in FAQ
2. Trash can allowed size changed in the last while (smaller). What about can usage?
– Answered in FAQ
3. Is the region going to provide larger blue boxes if asked for? They recommend using two already.
– One Blue Box free to new home owners only. Blue Boxes available for purchase at many stores.
4. For items that can not be put in recycling but still stink, who will pay for potential rodent population increase?
– Covered indirectly (solutions to the stink) in FAQ
5. Have they budgeted for road side dumping? I’ve seen this happen in other regions and it’s a problem. Nothing like beautiful woodlands littered with garbage because disposal fees were expensive.
– Covered in FAQ
6. Tags for extra bags – is the price going to on parity with driving the stuff to the dump yourself, or should we expect additional surcharges? $2 dump fee plus garbage surplus? See Q5 as a result.
– Not entirely answered. Sure, tags for bags, but this is still unclear if you visit the dump and pay your minimum $2 fee + whatever weight fee. Not sure how this will work with mixed garbage. Something to add to the FAQ
7. Paper bags – region to subsidize the cost? Newsprint is not useful nor available in all situations. Pet waste needs to be contained in paper bags to reduce/eliminate yuck factor.
– Not covered. I have some additional info below on this topic though.
8. So, I have two garbage cans to account for putting bags for one week into them. Four bags? I’ll need to buy more cans to keep all critters out.
– Not answered in FAQ, but there are options for acceptable containers which may answer this question
9. Yeah, the smell!!!! Wrapping styrofoam containers and plastic that were used for meat (even if rinsed, currently has to be put in the garbage) in paper and using lysol adds costs to the homeowner and is a patch to the actual problem of it sitting around for two weeks! When are we able to recycle at least the styrofoam? We can bring it to the dump, just not at the curbside.
– Covered in FAQ. I’d still prefer that styrofoam be recyclable as it appears to be at the dump
1. Truck fleet strategy:
– Going from one week to two weeks
– four bag limit per two weeks = two bag limit per week
– current garbage trucks hold about 1/3 organic waste, 2/3 garbage (one vehicle)
– current recycling truck handles all recyclables
– currently 86% of residents use 2 bags or less per week (so mostly compliant) of garbage, but out of that, 53% are compliant with green bin strategy. Goal of bag reduction is to adopt green bin strategy. I think the 86% using two bags or less per week may still need some prodding. Clear bags maybe it, but now we’re putting garbage collectors on the front line, which isn’t fun for them.
– We’re getting a new fleet – going from 2 trucks per route per week to alternating 2 trucks / 3 trucks (based off of Record article: http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/5645822-d-amato-on-diapers-drive-by-garbage-tossing-and-other-waste-management-fun/)
– If we’re going to single use trucks, how is this greener when two trucks will be required per route every week, and a third being added every other week? I can see route sizes changing as a result of this change, but how often will they need to visit the dump each day to complete their work and how many fewer trucks/staff will there be?
I guess this can be viewed as nitpicking, but it was mentioned that one of the reasons was to reduce carbon footprint. I’m wondering by how much.
I was thinking it’d be easier if you just limit to 2 bags per week. However, if there is indeed a big cost savings and noticeable carbon foot print reduction, please show us by how much!
My own investigation on Green Bin (GB), Kitchen, and Dog Waste bag options:
The FAQs available from the region are awesome, especially around the green bin and blue box usage.
I decided to look into costs of buying certified compostable plastic bags or paper bags. I currently use the paper bags for kitchen and pet waste (large and small size).
I visited some of the prominent department, home supply, pet and food stores around KW tonight to locate the following bags:
– certified GB, Kitchen and pet plastic compostable bags
– Kitchen and GB paper bags
I didn’t visit as many pet stores as I wanted to, but none of the ones I visited (or other stores with pet products) had certified (as outlined by the region) dog waste bags. They have their own type of environmentally friendly options, but nothing that meets with what the Region wants. If any pet stores out there have any, please let me know!
Sizes may vary a little for Kitchen and Green Bin bags, which may reflect the price ranges. Quantity plays a factor, as always. Prices are per bag including tax. I’m not giving away any details around where / what, so don’t ask. I just wanted to post ranges to people could see what is out there.
– Kitchen paper bags: $0.30 – $0.68 per bag
– Kitchen certified plastic bags: $0.12 – $0.47 per bag
– Green Bin paper bags: $0.28 – $0.82 per bag
– Green Bin certified plastic bags: $0.30 – $0.79 per bag
– Dog waste certified plastic bags: (N/A)
Hope this information is helpful. I do thank the Region and the Waste Management folks for the information they have provided. For the additional questions I have… hoping there maybe some more information available to us at some point. It maybe more than most people would care to know about, but I figure if these are public services, transparency isn’t a bad thing. It also helps me get behind the decision more.