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Niagara Falls
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Possible changes to garbage collection

Niagara Region's public works committee is hoping to make some policy changes to the way garbage is collected. 

The main proposal is to implement garbage collection once every two weeks, while organics and recycling material will continue to be collected weekly.

Since August 2018, the Region has been holding meetings with a variety of businesses and associations to collect public opinion on the proposed options. They also conducted online and telephone surveys and held 12 open houses.

According to the preliminary results, reaction to the every-other-week (EOW) garbage was evenly split between residents. The proposal for a four-item limit per residential unit and per collection was largely supported by survey respondents, while the use of clear trash bags made people concerned about privacy and a “garbage police” mentality.

In order to increase waste diversion and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, some policy changes have to be made, said Catherine Habermebl, Niagara Region’s acting commissioner of public works.

“We looked at the principal rationale for this program and we believe that diverting material is the right thing to do from an environmental, social and economic perspective.”

By implementing EOW garbage, municipalities like Peel or Barrie can benefit from a potential cost avoidance. For example, Peel saves $12 million a year while Barrie saves $200,000.

The Region’s commissioner said they want to increase the participation of the blue box and grey box program.

“Across all sectors, those programs are underutilized by the properties.”

The Region is also trying to educate and promote the use of green bins. The 2015-2016 waste collection data shows that 50 per cent of the waste is organics, which Habermebl says should go in a green bin.

“When we send organics to landfill, it’s not being reused or recycled. With compost or organics, it can be composted into a product that can be sold. When you recycle a product, it can also be made into a new product. So you would lose this opportunity if you send the waste to landfill.”

Nothing is set in stone yet regarding the proposed collection changes.

“No decision is final at this point,” Habermebl added. “We’re just completing our consultation with the local area municipalities and we will be taking the final report to the Niagara Region’s public works committee in the next few months.”

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