A new garbage contract and new ways of approaching waste management are coming to Coquitlam.
Council unanimously endorsed a seven-year contract Monday with a new waste collection contractor, BFI Canada Inc., which runs from July 2014 to 2021.
Among the biggest changes is a move to biweekly collection for certain items, standardized collection carts, automated pickup vehicles and a move away from collecting recyclables.
Recyclables will be collected by a group known as Multi-Material B.C.
A city staff report notes the new contract should save the city about $3.3 million annually when compared to the city’s current contract with Smithrite Disposal Ltd.
Those saving estimates, however, do not include the cost of purchasing the collection carts. City staff have put a $5-million price tag on the capital costs associated with the carts, and a request for proposals will likely be issued within two months for both those carts and additional bear-resistant containers.
“This one-time cost will be recovered through the solid waste utility and amortized over a number of years, as determined through the utility rate setting process,” a staff report notes.
The new contract is similar to service delivery model in cities like Port Moody, PoCo, New Westminster and Burnaby. Since changing their garbage collection policies, those cities have experienced a spike in diversion rates in the range of 40 per cent.
“There are some changes to get used to, but other communities have successfully done so,” Mayor Richard Stewart said Tuesday.
“Residents will find a much improved level of service.”
The shift from weekly to biweekly pickup mainly affects the collection of organic materials. Food waste and yard trimmings, for example, will be collected weekly, while “mixed waste” (garbage) will be picked up every two weeks.
“That’s another benefit about going biweekly — it makes people think more about what they’re putting in their garbage,” said Coun. Brent Asmundson.
The contract also calls for extra yard trimmings to be picked up in both spring and fall, and the collection of waste, recyclable and organics from all city facilities and public litter bins. A large item pick-up program, which will take place four times annually, is also included.
“There’s no question this change will involve a shift in behaviour,” Stewart said.
“That’s one of our challenges and we’ll have to communicate well with that. But most communities that have gone to this level of diversion have done the same, whether it’s automated or not.”
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