Hamilton politicians are nervously debating moving away from weekly garbage collection or the establishment of a one-container limit, in the face of a potentially negative public reaction.
Without giving direction to staff, the city’s public works and economic development committee delayed voting on staff’s proposal to established weekly garbage collection with a one-container limit starting in the spring of 2006.
A vote will be held on the recommendation at the October 27 council meeting.
Staff has also recommended bi-weekly leaf and yard waste collection during the peak periods of spring and fall, something the city tried before but failed after residents complained because more frequency was needed.
The proposed revisions to the waste collection program are an attempt by staff to introduce a green cart organics program by 2006. Currently 2,500 households participate in a green cart pilot program that has experienced positive results.
The staff proposal provides for weekly collection of organics in the green cart, recyclables and garbage with a one-container limit. The proposal also calls for spring and fall leaf and yard waste collection and call-in collection for bulk waste.
In September staff proposed bi-weekly waste collection without the container limit but public anger caused a change in plans.
Last year the city introduced a voluntary three-container limit (down from the previous six-bag limit). Beth Goodger, director of waste management, says there is 70 per cent compliance rate among residents. City staff find that reducing the containers from three to one would increase diversion of recyclables by up to 15 per cent, organics by 35 per cent and leaf and yard waste by 20 per cent.
The city is also committed to spending about $8.1 million to upgrade its existing MRF on Burlington Street, and will construct a composting facility for about $30 million.
Under its solid waste master plan, the city aims to reach 65 per cent diversion from landfill by 2008. If the city reaches that goal, the lifespan of its Glanbrook Landfill site will be extended by 21 years.
If the city adopts all staff’s current proposals, Hamilton will reach only 61 per cent diversion. The city’s current diversion rate is in the mid-twenties.