Committee receives plan to roll out three-item garbage limit in the fall

Published on
May 21, 2024
Council, committees and City Hall

The Environment and Climate Change Committee today received an overview of the City’s plan to implement the Council-approved Curbside Waste Diversion Policy, which comes into effect on Monday, September 30.  

The new policy, which allows households receiving curbside collection to set out three garbage items every two weeks, is one of several City initiatives to reduce the amount of unnecessary waste sent to the Trail Waste Facility Landfill and to reduce the climate impact of managing waste. More than half of what currently goes to the landfill could go in the green, blue or black bin, and if more waste is not diverted the landfill is expected to reach capacity within the next decade. 

To guide residents through the change, the City will roll out a communications and outreach plan over the next several months, including tools and tips to help people divert more waste. Once the limit is in place there will be a two-month transition period to help residents adjust, focusing on education first and gradually moving to not collecting garbage over the limit in December. 

In addition, the City will offer flexible options to help residents deal with unavoidable extra garbage. Residents will be able to purchase yellow bags that would not be counted against the three-item limit as a way to set out garbage over the limit on occasion. These bags are sold at locations throughout the city, including Client Service Centres and select Home Hardwares. The Special Considerations program offers collection of diapers, incontinence products, and home healthcare waste on off weeks. Agricultural properties with residential households who receive curbside collection will have a seasonal exemption period during which they can set out unlimited unavoidable farm waste. 

The City has additional resources in place to manage the anticipated temporary increase in illegal dumping. Inspectors will monitor parks and public spaces and address illegal dumping on private properties. Residents can report illegal dumping online or by calling 3-1-1. 

The Committee also received an update on the implementation of the Multi-Residential Waste Diversion Strategy, which requires multi-residential properties to participate in the Green Bin program in order to receive waste collection services from the City. Multi-residential buildings account for 17 per cent of residential waste collected by the City. Of the multi-residential waste sent to landfill, about 58 per cent could have been recycled or put in the green bin. Providing these properties with the opportunity to divert organic waste helps the City reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while in turn prolonging the life of the Trail Waste Facility Landfill.  

The City currently collects waste from approximately 2,300 multi-residential properties, of which about 52 per cent have a Green Bin program. From Q3 2024 to the end of 2028 the City will onboard the remaining properties through a mandatory process. The City will support residents with dedicated education and outreach to help them use a green bin, and work with property managers to address challenges and successfully introduce the program at their properties.  

The total cost for onboarding all remaining properties is approximately $5.6 million over the next four years. This report also provided an update on the 2026 multi-residential collection contract, which includes new provisions to improve efficiency and to align with the City’s waste diversion initiatives. 

The Committee received an overview of Public Works’ green equipment plan, which seeks to transition small gas-powered equipment to electric when feasible. After testing, staff identified five pieces of electric equipment that can be used for regular maintenance work - line trimmers, hedge trimmers, pole saws, pruning chainsaws and push mowers. 

As of the end of 2023, Public Works has 234 electric equipment units, or about 21 per cent of total inventory, which will be used for maintenance work across the city. Going forward staff will expand the use of electric equipment when feasible and monitor critical factors such as battery considerations, charging capacity, equipment lifecycle, and fire safety. 

Items considered at this meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, May 29. 

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