If City of Saskatoon administration gets its way, it’ll be the size of your bin — not the weight of your garbage — that determines how much you pay for waste collection.
The city unveiled its plans Wednesday for turning garbage collection into a “pay as you throw” utility service, after months of public consultation with more than 5,000 residents.
The recommendations to the environment, utilities and corporate services committee include offering people the option of smaller-sized black garbage bins for curbisde collection — with lower utility bills being issued for the smaller containers.
The current 360-litre bins issued by the City of Saskatoon would be the largest size available, referred to as an “extra large.”
Director of Environmental and Corporate Initiatives Brenda Wallace said in a briefing Wednesday morning that citizen feedback led administration to focus on basing the user cost of the utility on the size of the bins, rather than the weight of the waste.
She noted it would prevent people from trying to dump their garbage in another property’s bin to bring down their own cost.
“We have not recommended anything that’s contrary to the general themes we were hearing from the community,” she said.
Possible compost option
Aside from black bin collection, administration is also recommending for the city to introduce a green composting bin.
The single green bin would collect yard waste, meat, dairy and other food items.
No size for the green bin has been determined, but the city report notes it would “likely be medium or large.”
However, a city-wide composting program would require an expansion of Saskatoon’s compost-processing capabilities — which Wallace said requires more study.
The shift to a utility would take the burden of waste management off property tax bills. However, no specific financial data on what each utility bill tier would cost users was available.
Wallace said a report with more concrete details would be released in September.
She added the plan is aimed at increasing Saskatoon’s waste diversion and prevent the need for a new landfill — which would cost up to $126 million.
“Programs in the US and Canada that have these programs in place have shown an increase in their waste diversion rate of between six and 40 per cent,” she said.
“We’d like to see some of those results here.”
The new utility system would also produce a “sustainable” funding model for waste collection, she noted.
If the recommendations receive approval at committee, they will move to city council’s regular meeting on June 25.
If approved, Wallace said the new system could be put in place within one year.