Say Goodbye to Garbage Bag Tags

In preparation for budget time, Public Works staff have been reviewing the township waste programs to uncover potential areas of cost savings.

One of the possibilities they suggested was the elimination of the bag tag option for residential garbage disposal.

In their report presented at the December 5th meeting, staff described the current situation.  Presently, residents/property owners have the option of either putting garbage at the

curb on the day of collection alongside their recycling, or taking their garbage to the Transfer Station with a bag tag attached.  Residents and property owners who elect to deliver their garbage to the Transfer Station receive 104 bag tags for the year, the equivalent of two per week.  These can be used at any time throughout the year. Garbage received at the Transfer Station must be tagged. Staff believe this system is both expensive and has not encouraged waste reduction  which has been a key priority for the township for several years.

Disposal of waste delivered to the Transfer Station is expensive, as waste is handled twice before arriving at its ultimate destination at the Bensfort Landfill.  Curbside program contractors drive past all residences, regardless if their occupants place garbage out during each collection cycle or are on the Bag Tag Program.  Users of the curbside program face no charge for joining the curbside collection process.

Other issues arising from bag tags include potential duplication of garbage collection as some residents use both curbside and bag tag programs.  Occasionally residents try to dispose of garbage at the Transfer Station without using bag tags, and others either give or sell their unused tags to others.  Property ownership changes can lead to unintentional issue of duplicate bag tags issued as well.

The report suggested that the elimination of bag tags would encourage residents to use the curbside collection program, placing their garbage and recycling out each week on the collection day. This practise would also promote adherence to the township’s residential limit of two garbage bags per week, and help remove recyclable items from the garbage stream. The report noted that most transfer stations in other jurisdictions operate at full cost recovery, which would require residents to pay $ 3.00 per bag for each bag of garbage disposed at our transfer station.

Staff concluded that the elimination of the bag tag program would result in an annual cost savings of $1,000.00 for bag tag printing plus additional cost savings in administration and Transfer Station attendant labour.  They suggested that most of the current 628 bag tag users would choose to switch to curbside pickup rather than pay $3.00 per bag at the Transfer Station. This could contribute an estimated $16,000.00 savings achieved through reduced waste handling costs, resulting in a total estimated savings of $17,000.00 per year.

After a three-month transition period, be eliminated as of April 1st.   Residents bringing bagged garbage will be charged $3 per bag.  Revenue generated through this user fee will be directed to an Environmental Services Reserve to be used to fund future Transfer Station improvements. KG

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