by Courtney Mintenko
On one of her frequent trips to drop off paper recycling at the blue bin located at the Broadway Shopping Centre, Katherine Hamilton noticed a poster pasted to the bin inviting people to “talk trash” with the city.
"I’d be all for that,” she said.
The city’s Let’s Talk Trash program began in the spring of 2008. In November and December 2009, open houses were held to discuss whether Regina citizens are willing to pay more for their waste management, which could result in a curb-side recycling program.
The result was three options for improving waste management in Regina, explained Derrick Bellows, environmental services director for the city.
The first option, titled ‘Current Plus,’ has the lowest cost and the least improvement.
“(It) would stick with what we’ve got, and just add a little more sophistication to it,” Bellows explained.
The next option is an ‘Enhanced’ program, similar to what is in place in most major Canadian cities. Curb-side paper recycling would be part of this plan, but Bellows said that plans still need to be finalized as to how this property-line recycling would operate.
The ‘Comprehensive’ plan is the most sophisticated, and would include collecting all items, including an organic management program.
Bellows said that if the city decides to go to the Comprehensive plan, they would have to work there gradually, going to the Enhanced plan first. The Comprehensive plan would also be the most expensive plan.
Cost is one of the important issues in implementing a curb-side program. Joanne Fedyk of the Sask Waste Reduction Council said curb-side programs haven’t been introduced because the alternatives are much less expensive in Saskatchewan.
However, Bellows maintained that people in Regina understand that increased service means increased cost.
Currently in Regina, citizens have the option of receiving curb-side recycling through a private company. Crown Shred & Recycling Inc. provides this service for $110 per year.
Jack Shaw, the president and CEO of Crown Shred & Recycling, said he sees too many flaws in a municipally-run program.
“If you go to a municipal-based recycling program, there’s not enough education that goes with it, and (it) turns recycling into shit,” Shaw said.
Shaw is referring to contamination – garbage and recycling getting mixed together – a risk that Bellows is well aware of. But Bellows maintained that other municipal recycling programs in Canada have faced the problem successfully for the most part.
Success of the program, according to Bellows, is up to the people.
“If the community understands what’s being offered…(and) it makes sense to the community, they’ll use it properly.”