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Rollout planned for garbage carts in Richmond

Krista Kane and Danny Clyne deliver green carts to houses on a Terra Nova street last spring. The city is now eyeing a plan to roll out carts for garbage. - Matthew Hoekstra
Krista Kane and Danny Clyne deliver green carts to houses on a Terra Nova street last spring. The city is now eyeing a plan to roll out carts for garbage.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra

Shiny new wheeled garbage carts will soon be rolled out to three Richmond neighbourhoods if city council approves a pilot program aimed at reducing trash.

City hall wants to test garbage pickup with new standard bins similar to green carts introduced last spring for organics collection.

Under the six-month pilot, 1,600 single-family homes and townhouses would receive the new carts in February. Half would continue receiving once-a-week collection, while pick-up would be reduced to once-every-two-weeks for the rest.

"The overall goal is to help gain resident input into a city-wide program to align the city's garbage collection services with the goals for recycling and waste reduction," said Suzanne Bycraft, manager of fleet and environmental programs, in a report going to a council committee Wednesday.

With results of the $325,000 pilot in hand, staff would recommend in July an approach for all Richmond homes on garbage service.

For the pilot, neighbourhoods in the areas of South Arm Park, Odlin Park and Talmey Elementary School are included. Residents in the South Arm Park test group would receive a single 120-litre cart—the size of an average trash can. Other residents would get carts twice as large, but collection would be bi-weekly.

Participants would have the option of changing to a different cart size, and for those with bi-weekly collection, extra pick-ups on the off-week would be provided upon request.

"The intent of the pilot will be to determine which method best encourages waste diversion, while being flexible during the pilot to get as much public feedback as possible," noted Bycraft.

It appears new plastic garbage carts are destined for driveways city-wide. In an earlier report, Bycraft said blue box and green cart programs already allow residents to recycle the majority of their trash, and "adjusting service levels" for garbage collection is the "next aggressive and progressive step."

Carts come with a city-wide cost of $2.2-million and higher collection fees, and reducing garbage collection could prompt some residents to dump trash in recycling bins—or elsewhere—to get rid of it during off-weeks.

But staff say a new collection program with carts would reduce complaints of missing lids and scattered garbage, and a single recommended 120-litre cart—along with rate incentives for alternative size carts—would also encourage more waste diversion while still giving residents choice.

"By reducing the number of garbage containers collected each week or by collecting garbage every other week, residents are motivated to recycle more and dispose less," according to Bycraft's report.

Surrey and Vancouver already have bi-weekly garbage collection using carts. Surrey also collects recycling bi-weekly.

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