by Jennifer Lavallee
Morinville News Correspondent
Starting as early as this week, Morinville residents will begin to notice a colourful change to their garbage bins. The Town is switching out all the green waste bins for new grey ones. The organic waste carts, however, will not change.
The company which operates waste removal services in Town is called GFL Environmental Inc.; together, they and the Town of Morinville made the decision to switch out the bins to reduce confusion to residents on what waste goes where. “There have been several instances when the wrong cart was used for the wrong content, causing issues as you can imagine,” said Claude Valcourt, Director of Public Works in Morinville. Currently, both the waste and organics bin are green in colour.
According to GFL, if non-organic materials are discovered in an organics load on one of their trucks, that load can no longer be processed and must be thrown in the landfill instead. “The entire load is essentially wasted,” said Wade Chernichan, Operations Manager with GFL, “…and it’s a shame because what we’re trying to do is divert waste from the landfills.”
Chernichan explained if a driver sees non-organic material in the organics bin before they dump it into the truck, they will not pick it up. Rather, the driver will leave a sticker on the cart explaining why it was not emptied.
Valcourt noted this colour change is in line with what other municipalities are doing. The cost to switch out the bins is an increase of about $1 per month per household and GFL is doing all the work to get the new carts assembled and distributed. The company also covered the cost of a Town-wide mail out to residents, explaining the process for the change.
“Basically, the increase in rates includes this cart transition but [that is] not the only reason for the rate increase…CPI indexing (consumer price indexing) is primarily causing the increase. The end result is a break-even scenario to cover this curbside service, and the town does not make any money here, only cost recovery,” added Valcourt. CPI is a measurement of what prices consumers pay (in general) for certain goods or services.
GFL estimates their cost for one new waste cart is about $100.
Chernichan said GFL sees, among all their customers, that people are getting better at recycling and are starting to consider more carefully what contents should go where (waste bin, organics bin, or blue bag recycling). “This is something we can all do,” he urged, “using the carts sort of forces people to recycle because you only have so much space in there.” The organics bin, he said, is the next step people can focus on to be more environmentally conscious.
Noami Cheeseman, a four-year Morinville resident agrees. “There are no challenges to using the [organics] bin. It doesn’t take much to get in the habit of using two trash cans in the kitchen,” she suggested. Cheeseman asserted that it’s everyone’s responsibility to minimize their environmental footprint. She questioned, however, if the cart switch-out is necessary. “Was it a big problem to have them the same colour? I wasn’t aware of the change, but if it somehow saves money [in the long-run] by reducing this confusion, then it’s good.”
Another resident, Kimberly Porlier, said it doesn’t make a difference to her what colours the bins are because she is already using them correctly. “I kind of thought it was costly and wasteful to replace them,” she said. Porlier uses the organics bin primarily in the winter since she has a backyard composter that she uses from the spring to fall.
Porlier said because of her efforts to recycle and compost, she only needs to put out her garbage bin about once a month, and it’s usually not full.
Roseridge landfill was approached for comment but did not respond by press time.