Moosomin considers adopting curbside recycling

March 16, 2015 7:55 am
Julia Dima

Moosomin town council is considering a switch to curbside recycling pick-up. Council met with Loraas Disposal at Wednesday’s council meeting and will make a decision on the issue at the next meeting, when the full council should be present.

Currently, residents have access to 30 recycling bins at the landfill. With single stream curbside recycling, all recyclables can be placed together in the bin, and fees for the bin would be charged through utilities.

In initial discussions with Loraas, the town was quoted a cost of $8.45 a month per household for bi-weekly recycling pick up. Council wanted to know if monthly pick-up would be an option, and if the number of blue bins at the landfill could be reduced.

At last week’s meeting, Scott Nelson, and Brian Waynert from Loraas disposal were present to address council’s concerns.

“The original proposal we gave . . . was for an every two-week collection for $8.45 per cart, and we’re staying with that price,” Nelson said to council. “The other option which you can consider is an every four-week collection which is $6 per cart.”

That cost would also have a fuel surcharge that fluctuates around 10 per cent depending on oil prices, and would be locked into a five-year contract where the price could rise slightly according to the consumer price index.

Despite having a lower rate for the monthly collection which council had initially shown interest in, Nelson, and Waynert—who lives in Whitewood where there is curbside recycling—said that the bi-weekly option was better.

Waynert said that inWhitewood, since people understood how much could be diverted from garbage to the curbside bin, curbside recycling has been heavily utilized.

“I just can’t see it working every four weeks, I think your bins would be overflowing once everybody got into the routine of it,” he said.

Council also decided that if the town were to switch to curbside recycling, that it would be possible to reduce the number of blue bins at the landfill by half to reduce costs. The 30 bins are presently emptied twice a week for a cost of $6,500 a month. Nelson explained that if the town wanted cut the number of bins in half and continue twice-weekly pick-ups, the town would be paying $5,195 a month instead. The second option he suggested was maintaining 30 bins, but switching to once-a-week pick-ups, which would bring the monthly fee down to $3,550.

“I don’t really see us needing the bins emptied twice a week, I think once a week would work fine, and we should probably try that,” says town administrator Paul Listrom. “There’s a lot of savings there.”

In addition to these concerns, Nelson discussed other considerations for the town, like switching the recycling bins at the landfill to commercial bins only, transferring all the cost onto private businesses to take care of their recycling, and giving small businesses the option to purchase a curbside bin like residential properties.

“With the recycling for residential, if you go with curbside recycling, there is no reason for residents of the town to use the recycling depot,” Nelson said.

In some communities, like Assiniboia, there are no recycling bins at the landfill anymore.

Council decided to contact communities that have made changes to their blue bin system to determine what would work for Moosomin.

“We have some information from other towns, a summary of how they do it,” Listrom says. “We specifically want to ask Assiniboia how it’s working because they have no bins at all.”

There were also questions about how the curbside system would work for multiple-unit residences like four-plexes and apartment buildings.

Nelson explained that there are a number of options for multiple residences that vary from community to community.

“We can handle it with a three-yard or four-yard front end bin,” Nelson said. “So, what towns will do is decide—Regina has decided that anything under five units can use carts, and anything over five units will not have carts.”

He added that multi-unit residences can be classified as residential or commercial properties, that is the determination of the town.

Council decided to look into how multi-unit buildings are classified in other towns to determine the plan if the town switches to curbside recycling.

Councillor Chris Davidson asked Nelson and Waynert what issues curbside recycling has caused in other communities.

“With our curbside garbage and recycling collection, there’s not a town that has said they don’t want to do this anymore,” Nelson said. “We did have some issues in Esterhazy that Brian has been working on to fix.”

Waynert added that the biggest issue is miscommunication about pick-up times.
“The biggest thing that we have been having trouble with is we don’t allow our trucks to start in any town before 7 a.m. They will be sitting on the edge of town, and at seven, they are ready to go,” he said. “So, when we ask the carts to be out by 7 a.m., they have to be there. We can’t have our drivers being chased down the street saying ‘You missed mine.’ That is what we’re working on now.”

Waynert says that to challenge the concerns they have heard that bins are being skipped intentionally, the trucks have sophisticated GSP technology that tracks where the truck has gone, where bins have been picked up and set down, where they have been tipped, at what time and date, and the exact speed of the truck.

“And what happens is once our trucks go through the town, they will stop, phone the office, where staff can verify that everything has been done,” he says. “When you get this under way, I think the biggest thing you have to do is push that timeframe we have. Our drivers will go back and try to make everybody happy, but we can’t have that happen all the time.”

After the discussion, Davidson asked how soon curbside recycling could be implemented. Nelson said that realistically, if an agreement were signed in the next few weeks, the carts could be ordered, delivered, and ready to use by June.

“We will decide fairly quickly about this, I’m sure,” Davidson said.

“I think it’s hugely convenient, we’ll see more stuff being recycled, which is good for the landfill and the environment—there’s no downside to this,” Councillor Garry Beckett said after Nelson and Waynert left.

No decisions were made during the meeting on implementation because Councillor Terry Lynd and Mayor Larry Tomlinson were not present.

The issue will be on the agenda for council’s March 25 regular meeting.