On October 12, City of Powell River will launch the Automated Waste Collection system, which will do away with the need for the ubiquitous orange garbage stickers.
“We did a lot of community engagement around this time last year, and now we’re seeing the results of that feedback,” says Rod Fraser, manager of operational services for the city. “Residents really wanted to get rid of the $2 per bag stickers, and we wanted to reduce the physical strain and injuries to our staff. City council supported this initiative, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results of all this planning.”
The city will provide one black waste cart to each household. The bins will be delivered at the end of September or early October, along with a handout explaining the upcoming changes. Then, after Thanksgiving, residents should start using their new waste carts on their regular collection day.
“The carts should be placed on the curb by 7:30 am on your collection day,” says Rod. “Because of bears and other wildlife, they should not be placed out the night before, nor stored outside with waste in them.”
Besides not buying tags, the biggest change for residents will be making sure that there is sufficient space around the bin for collection.
“In order to use the hydraulic arm successfully and safely, the area around the bin needs to be clear three feet on each side, and 10 feet above,” says Rod. “Carts should be placed on the street with the wheels touching the sidewalk or curb. We’re asking residents to place the bin in a location with those requirements.”
On recycling days, residents should also place their recycle bins three feet away from their waste cart.
Rod encourages all residents to recycle and compost as much as possible to reduce the amount of household waste they generate. “Right now, all our garbage is barged to Washington State, and there are environmental impacts to that,” he says. “Apart from the landfill space, there’s the fuel it takes to truck our waste to the barge, move it by water down the coast, then truck it to the landfill. Anything we can do to reduce the amount we put in the landfill makes a difference.”
In addition to biweekly recycling pickup, there are three recycling centres: Town Centre Recycling Depot (between Rona and Royal LePage, Monday to Saturday); Sunshine Disposal and Recycling (4484 Franklin Avenue, Wednesday/Friday/Saturday); and Augusta Recyclers (7346 Highway 101, Monday to Saturday). For composting, kitchen and food waste can be taken to the Town Centre Recycling Depot or Sunshine Disposal, and yard waste to Augusta.
“We do have options for people who might generate more waste,” says Rod. “If you have the occasional extra bag, you can purchase tags and put them out at the curb – three feet from the bin – for pickup. The tags will be $5, but they will be for those rare occasions where you have more waste, like after a party or holiday.
“If a household already recycles and composts everything they can and are still finding the new bin too small, then we can provide an additional bin for $80 per year. If you’ve tried out your new bin for a couple of weeks and it’s not big enough, give us a call.”
Rod is already looking into the future, and hopes to roll out an organics cart within two years. “Residents and council have expressed an interest in moving towards curbside collection of organics, which would significantly reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill,” he says.
Residents can get more information on the new waste collection service online at participatepr.ca/curbside-collections, or can contact Operational Services at email@example.com or 604.485.8657.