One bag limit trashed by regional district directors

Staff recommendation to introduce one bag limit in curbside recycling program not popular with RDOS directors

An attempt by regional district staff to convince the regional board of directors to institute a one bag limit for the regional district’s curbside collection program – failed to garner much of the director’s initial support at the November 21 meeting of the Environment and Infrastructure Committee meeting.

Solid Waste Management Coordinator Cameron Baughen told the board that a 10 – 20 per cent reduction in curbside waste could be obtained through imposition of a one bag limit. He based his estimate on a graph showing reductions in waste in Oliver and Osoyoos following implementation of one bag limits in those communities in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

Baughen insisted that the single bag requirement was “most cost effective compared to other options,” noting that expensive plans to remove organics from the waste stream were only expected to reduce waste to the landfill by 30 to 35 per cent.

Baughen urged the board to consider the move in time for a July 1 implementation, as a drop in user fees is expected next year due to payments from MultiMaterial BC (MMBC)  for recycling. He anticipated a slight increase in tag a bag purchases for residents, adding there would not be any savings in contract prices for garbage pickup.

Directors were not as enthusiastic about the move as Baughen, however.

“I don’t want to increase the burden on families,” said Oliver rural Director Allan Patton.

West Bench Director Michael Brydon compared the move to Fortis’ two tiered billing system, where he said, “That incentive has created bizarrness.”

The incentive isn’t to reduce garbage…it’s a tax on families.”

Brydon promised to do 100 push ups if the RDOS could achieve a 10 per cent waste reduction through a one bag limit.

“People will just see it as more money for less service,” he said.

Cawston rural Director George Bush told the board that he represented farm families who produce “way more than two bags per week,” adding waste disposal was compounded in the Lower Similkameen by a landfill schedule that only saw in open on Sunday.

Keremeos Director Manfred Bauer said in his observations of Keremeos streets, many residents are already regularly placing a single bag. He said he would consult with other Similkameen directors prior to making a decision on the matter.

Baughen will be meeting with directors on an individual basis prior to the matter coming before the board at a future meeting.