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HRM Council Motion Paves Way for Less Waste to the HRM Landfill
(December 7, 2010) HRM Regional Council tonight (Dec. 7) voted, in principle, to amend the by-law for garbage collection and encourage more recycling and composting.
Staff will now draft by-law changes proposed in the report on diversion initiatives which are highlighted by cutting the number of bags for collection from six bags to four.
There is still more work to do and more approvals needed by Council before any changes are made. Most importantly, there will be a chance for the public to have its say before any changes to the collection system are given final approval.
The last change in bag limits - a reduction in the bag limit from ten to six bags - was put in place over three years ago. It was done to enhance HRM’s goal to reduce waste from our landfill. A waste audit showed a 15 percent improvement since 2004 in the amount of residential garbage headed to the landfill and redirected to the other waste streams.
However, the audit also showed there was room for improvement. Results found over 30 percent of items in the garbage put to the curb by residents should have been composted or recycled. That figure rose to 50 percent for apartments and the commercial/institutional sector.
To help apartment property owners improve their numbers, the report proposes a new mini bin system for their unit holders. The report suggests that property owners and property management companies can undertake bulk purchasing of bins (ranging between $2 to $3.75/unit) to achieve cost efficiencies. HRM would assist property management firms with educating property owners to teach their tenants how the system would work and conducting waste audits. A pilot project with the mini bins produced positive results, supporting the recommendation.
To assist citizens with the change in the number of bags collected, the report proposed adding additional plastics (#s 3, 5 and 7) to the list of recyclables. This would only leave one ‘plastic’ in the waste system - Styrofoam.
Recommendations presented to Council came forward from the Solid Waste Resource Advisory Committee - a special committee of Council that looks at solid waste management issues.
The changes, if adopted, could also provide HRM with a number of operational and capital costs which could see HRM save millions of dollars a year for reducing organics and recyclables wrongly going to the landfill and having to be dealt with at Otter Lake.
The complete report can be found on the HRM website at: www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents/101207ca1142.pdf.
Gord Helm, Manager
HRM Solid Waste Resources