Township residents will have to become smarter with their garbage.
On May 9 council gave third reading to new waste management bylaws that will place stricter fines on delinquent dumpers, and create a new system for municipal pickup.
Beginning Oct. 1, all residents in the Township — regardless of whether they use municipal services, private companies, or take their trash to the dump themselves — will be required to separate their waste between garbage, organics and recyclables.
Those using municipal services will be transitioned to a semi-automatic system, with garbage pickup every other week, and organics and recycling pickup every week.
New carts for both garbage and organics will be rolled out in August and September.
Single-family homes will receive one 240-litre garbage cart and one 240-litre organics cart. The blue recycling bins already in use will remain the same. Those in multi-family dwellings will receive one 120-litre garbage cart and one 80-litre organics cart.
For an additional fee, households can order up to two extra garbage carts, or trade theirs in for a smaller cart and pay less.
Reduction in garbage anticipated
This is in line with what neighbouring municipalities, such as Surrey and Abbotsford, are using, said Township energy and solid waste manager Ryan Schmidt.
“We field tested it with our residents two years ago and … the results of the field test were positive,” Schmidt told council.
“So we’re confident we will see (a) 35 per cent reduction in garbage weight as people move material to the recycling and the organic streams.”
For apartments and condominiums that currently do not use Township curb side collection (about 123 complexes, or 7,400 residences), there will be an opportunity to opt in, and all new multi-family residential developments built will receive municipal curbside collection services.
Ultimately, the goal across the Metro Vancouver region is zero waste, said Township Mayor Jack Froese.
“It might be a lofty goal, but certainly if we put our minds to it, we can find that a lot of the so-called garbage are items that can be recycled,” Froese told the Times.
“So it is to reduce the impact on the environment as far as waste that’s going into our landfills, and also having a truck coming around the neighbourhoods every other week instead of every week to pick up that garbage.
“The Metro Vancouver area and Township of Langley are cutting-edge leaders in waste reduction. It is something that I know a lot of other communities are doing, and it’s something I think that we all need to be aware of. We can’t just keep filling up landfills.”
What’s the Cost?
Currently, both single family and multi-family homes using Township pickup pay an annual user fee of $291.57.
Under the new system, single family dwellings will pay $290 for 2017, and multi-family dwellings with smaller carts will pay $215.
And for those caught not separating organics and recyclables from garbage, there is a $50 fine.
The penalty for littering is also increasing from $100 to $500 to match the penalty for illegal dumping.
These fees will help pay for enforcement of the new rules, Schmidt said.
In a survey conducted by the Township, 30 per cent of residents in rural areas were putting their organics into the garbage.
“We have community-wide waste reduction targets and waste diversion targets that need to be applied throughout the community, not just within our solid waste collection areas, Schmidt said.
“So that provision in the bylaw, including that penalty, is meant to allow us to enforce the organics ban in the region and help us reach our … waste reduction targets.”
What Goes In the Bin?
Some people may be surprised by just how much can be separated into the organics bin. Many items that would not traditionally go in a backyard compost, can go into the cart.
Permissible materials include: yard trimmings, bones, baked goods, breads, grains and pastas, coffee grounds, coffee ground filters, dairy products, eggs and eggshells, fish, fruit and vegetables, grease and cooking oil, kitchen food scraps, meat, nuts and nutshells, paper cups and plates, paper food wrap, paper napkins, paper take-out containers, pizza boxes, plate scrapings and tea bags.
All fecal waste material, such as cat litter and baby diapers, are permitted in the garbage so long as it is double bagged.