Get ready to pay for your excess trash

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Despite some public opposition, Waterloo Regional Council has approved changes to garbage collection &mdash; which is set to see a household limit of four bags of waste per pickup. Those residents who go over the threshold will be required to pay for bag tags &mdash; which will be introduced during the first months of 2017 &mdash; if they want any extra waste collected.</p>

With the region’s landfill approaching capacity, regional council ultimately decided to go ahead with these proposed changes to waste management rules. These new rules are expected to save up to $1.5 million, extend the life of the landfill by two years, and encourage regional residents to increase their use of green bins.

The approved changes presented by the waste management division — expected to take effect in March 2017 — would see curbside garbage picked up once every two weeks with a limit of four bags per household, or every week with a limit of two bags. Currently, rules state each property is allowed a maximum of 10 bags per week. Large item pickups with a limit of three items is among the other changes to come.

Other services, including unlimited weekly blue box collection, green bin collection, and yard waste collection every two weeks, will remain the same. From April to November, residents will also receive bi-weekly yard waste collection and bi-weekly large appliance pickups with a limit of three items. According to Cari Howard, manager of waste management projects, the goal of limiting the amount of garbage is “to encourage people to use the green and blue bins to their fullest extent.”

Last year’s 9,000 collected tonnes was nowhere near the 20,000 tonnes that were originally estimated.

Howard hopes that the changes will not greatly affect students and residents of Waterloo alike, as most already produce less than four bags per week.

University students who live in off-campus housing are expected to abide by the waste management rules and by-laws, an assumption that doesn’t come easily to students that move frequently.

“We really recommend that students work with their landlord in these situations,” Howard suggested. “Waste management does work together with the cities to provide extra service to the landlords when students are moving in and out, but it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure his tenants are supplied with the proper containers they need to participate in these programs.”

Waste management and the Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI) are working together to raise awareness around possible adjustments to avoid any surprises.

“Our top priority is to make sure students, as well as residents of the region, are well accommodated,” Howard said. “We’ll continue to work with the cities and landlords to help prepare things in the student areas.”

SCI is also focused on educating students about proper procedures.

“The new changes will be posted on the Sustainable Campus Initiative Facebook page and we will also be looking into a more physical outreach through the events planned for the term,” SCI volunteer Aaraby Mohanathas stated. “As an eco-focused service, it is exciting to see the Region of Waterloo move forward in their waste management processes.

“We believe this will greatly decrease the diversion rates going into the landfills and increase the amount of recycling and composting. This change can definitely be a positive thing if contamination rates within the blue and green bins can be managed and we are excited to see how these new changes will play out.”

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