Clear garbage bags may be coming to Wellington curbs

RecyclingMonster - Clear garbage bags showing exactly what people are sending out in the trash may be coming curbside to Wellington.

In a bid to reduce garbage costs and keep hazardous waste and recycling out of landfill, councillor Mike Harper is suggesting a volunteer-driven test pilot project to be launched for a couple of months this fall.

While awaiting indications of support from retailers to get on board, Harper has been in conversation with Quinte Waste Recyling and is looking to the County to run the idea by Waste Management Services.

He notes several other Ontario municipalities have taken on the initiative, including Tweed, Central Hastings and Stirling.

Research proves the clear garbage bags create an obligation with residents to ensure more recycling materials are put in the blue bin and that hazardous waste materials are dealt with properly, his resolution states.

“Quinte Waste sees no problems and we are working with them on some pre and post measures of success,” said Harper. “This is a test pilot, so voluntarily for residents. Should it go forward and be something permanent in the County, then we would look to impose some restrictions.”

“Residents can choose to participate, or not. If they don’t put out a clear bag it’s still going to get picked up. There is no pressure on them, other than, I hope, moral pressure to participate.”

Harper noted that in municipalities that have adopted clear garbage bags, collectors are instructed to examine them for excessive recycling content, or hazardous waste. If the ratio is deemed too high, the bag would be tagged appropriately, and not collected.

Items deemed inappropriate for public eyes should be placed inside another bag so they cannot be seen.

During the two-month period of testing, bags would be counted to demonstrate compliance and would be collected regardless of excessive recyling content.

“We want to get as much pre/post understanding of how this would work honestly it’s not going to be as quantitative as we would like as that’s impossible to do, as our garbage is collected along with other wards so we would be unable to weigh it. It’s going to be a visual count, or working with waste staff to eyeball how it’s going.”

First is compliance – the percentage of people using clear bags and with Quinte Waste Solutions, find some unobtrusive ways to understand if the recycling totals are, in fact, growing with waste diversion.

The post survey, Harper said, will be most important. People will be asked if they participated, and why, or why not; and if they did, what worked, and what didn’t and would they participate going forward.

Councillors supported the idea at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting. Final decision would be made at the next council meeting.

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