Letter to the Editor – Royal City Record

RE: Big bin or little bin for you? (Record, Saturday, Oct. 2nd, 2010)

Now that the new reality of automated bins and Cleaner Greener carts have arrived in New Westminster, let’s hope one of the results of this program is a reduction of the amount of trash Metro Vancouver has to either burn (upwind of New Westminster), or haul to Cache Creek (upriver of New Westminster).

As reported in the Record, the New Westminster Environmental Partners did advocate to Council for the smaller, 120 litre option for the garbage bins. The reasoning at the time was simple: prior to automated collection, the maximum weekly allowance was 2 cans at 75L each, for a total of 150L. However, very few actually used this much volume. The statistics collected by the City in 2009 showed that the average household put out 72L of mixed trash a week, and that less than 5% put out more than 95L a week. This is before the introduction of the Cleaner Greener bins. According to Metro Vancouver studies, between 30% and 50% of household trash can go into the Cleaner Greener bins. Combine this with the numbers collected above, and it is pretty clear that 120L is more than enough capacity for most everyone in New Westminster.

The benefits of smaller bins? They are easier to move about, take up less yard or garage space, and they encourage the diversion of compostables to the Cleaner Greener bins and recyclables to the blue box. The fact you will pay an extra $100 a year for the larger bin simply reflects the increased cost the City has to pay every year to haul your garbage away. Less trash, less cost: everyone wins.

The NWEP does applaud the choice of smaller bins, but will still be looking to City Hall to provide yet smaller bins for those who request them (such as the 75L bins available in the City of Vancouver). By the City’s own numbers, that would provide sufficient volume for most households. An optional smaller sized Cleaner Greener bin would also be appreciated by the ever-increasing number of residents who have backyard composters. Of course, the NWEP would support passing on the related savings in disposal costs to those who choose the more conservative options.

Finally, if you are one of the ever-decreasing few who just can’t seem to fit a week’s worth of trash into a 120L bin, perhaps you should check out the Glenbrook North Zero Waste Challenge website to see how easy it was for some of your neighbours, even those with large families, to reduce their garbage.

Patrick Johnstone
New Westminster Environmental Partners.

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