A Saskatoon mother with a family of seven is encouraging fellow residents to keep an open mind about the city’s new garbage utility and curbside organics program.
“Peelings, leftover salads, coffee grounds, eggshells — you’d be surprised at how much you use it,” Jennifer Gaudry told 650 CKOM in an interview Tuesday.
The waste management system will bill homeowners monthly based on the size of their garbage bin, with three sizes available: a small 160-litre bin, a medium 240-litre bin and a large 320-litre bin — the current size.
City officials hope the move will encourage more people to downsize their garbage bins to increase waste diversion away from the landfill, extending the life of the site by decades and delaying the need to spend over $100 million to open a new one.
In 2017, Saskatoon had a waste diversion rate of 23 per cent. The city has established a goal of 70 per cent diversion by 2023.
Administration has said the introduction of mandatory curbside organics collection will help with diversion, as it’s estimated about 58 per cent of what currently goes into black bins can be placed in the new green bins.
Gaudry, a mother of five children, said her family started using the city’s optional green bin program five years ago, and it made a huge difference.
She noted her household has downsized their garbage pail in the kitchen. Before moving to organics, they had a large bin using industrial-sized garbage bags that had to be taken out once a week.
Now, they have a small basket fitting underneath the sink that needs to be taken out with the same frequency.
“We’ve eliminated that big garbage monstrosity in the kitchen,” she said. “It’s just small choices that can really go a long way.”
Gaudry said she understands it will be a difficult adjustment for young families going through large amounts of diapers, but said that comes to an end.
“Think about the environment, you can do this,” she said.
She added her family’s shift to using a green bin hasn’t led to a drastic change in lifestyle, but it has adjusted her teenage sons’ behaviour.
“It’s showing my kids to be mindful of the waste they’re throwing out … If anything can be recycled or composted, they’re bringing it back in their lunch.”
The new waste management system, approved Monday by city council, is set to be implemented in 2020.