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Wellesley councillors air concerns about changes to regional garbage collection

With sweeping changes to waste collection on the horizon – including biweekly garbage pick-up and bag limits – the region is making a push to convince residents the cost-saving move is a good one.

Meeting Tuesday night, Wellesley councillors got to voice their concerns to Kim Kitagawa, waste management coordinator with the Region of Waterloo.

The new regimen comes into effect Mar. 6. in Wellesley. That means everyone’s garbage day will be changing to Wednesday, green bins will be delivered to rural homes for compostable waste, and blue bin recycling will be collected every week instead of every other.

Still wary, councillors wanted to know more about the finer details of the new collection program. With a blue bin for hard plastic glass and cans, and a blue bin for paper and plastic, Coun. Shelley Wagner wanted to know where styrofoam fit in.

Under the new regulations, styrofoam still doesn’t have a place in the recycling bins, however.

“We want to make sure the market is secure before we add it to the blue box program so we have a place for the styrofoam to go,” said Kitagawa. “The market is stronger for packing styrofoam as opposed to packing peanuts or food grade styrofoam, and we do have a drop-off for packing styrofoam at the Waterloo transfer station.”

One part of the region-wide changes coming in March is the garbage tag program. The new collection limit is four bags every two weeks. Any extra bags will be required to have a tag, available in sheets of five for $10 from the region.

Mayor Joe Nowak had families with young children in mind when asking for reassurance on the diaper disposal regulations in relation to the four-bag limit.

“Are you fairly confident with the diaper issue? I am a grandfather and we had two babies at our home and they produce a lot of diapers on just a weekend.”

Keeping diapers for two weeks isn’t a health risk, and those that don’t want to use garbage tags for diapers have an alternate option.

“We have the free diaper drop-off at the Cambridge and Waterloo transfer stations,” said Kitagawa. “There is no problem health-wise keeping diapers for two weeks, according to our public health department, but they should be double bagged in a cool, dry place.”

The region wants residents to change their habits to divert as much away from the landfills as possible. There is no limit to the number of blue bins allowed on the curb on pick-up day, so Wellesley Township is inviting the public to come and pick up a second or third bin from the township offices.

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