Changes coming to Fredericton garbage and recycling programs
Frederictonians could see changes coming to garbage and recycling programs in the next year, following a program review.
The city was presented with recommendations from consultants that aim to raise the landfill diversion rate.
According to city councillor and public safety and environment committee chair Stephen Chase, Fredericton has a diversion rate of 19 per cent. Chase said that’s lower than the national average and said staff are reviewing a list of recommendations that will be presented to the committee in August before the fall budget cycle.
“The city needed a waste management strategy and so we brought in the consulting firm GHD to consult with citizens. We did consult extensively and we have an online survey and the citizens told us a lot about what they’d like to see in a new waste management system,” Chase said. “I guess the big one would be to improve our ability to divert materials to recycling, because recycling is good and the people want to do that.”
In an email to Global News, Fundy Regional Service Commission public relations and program development officer Brenda MacCallum said the City of Saint John has a 33.7 per cent diversion rate. MacCallum said that’s based on the amounts of waste brought to Crane Mountain.
Chase said the City of Fredericton needs to find ways to facilitate waste management and recycling and noted the recommendations are aimed at those objectives.
“What we need to do is encourage people through public education, making it easier for them to recycle their materials, and keep things out of the landfill that don’t need to go there,” Chase said.
Surveys were done in 2016 to gather Frederictonians’ views on waste and diversion initiatives.
“We’re a green city, we’re a smart city and we certainly want to do the right things. We heard from the surveys that people want to do the right things too, so in order to get that diversion rate up, that’s why we have to facilitate recycling. I’m thinking that some of the big items where we could make gains would be in multi-unit buildings, like making it easy for people to live in apartments and condos to be able to recycle instead of going to the blue bins that are located in three or four locations throughout the city,” Chase said.
He said the diversion rate would likely increase if it was easier for people to recycle. He said more public education and awareness campaigns would help clarify what people can and can’t recycle.
One of the recommendations mentioned is the “pay-as-you-throw” system, but Chase said it’s at “the far end of a spectrum of options” and said that’s “an unlikely scenario right now.”
“Maybe in several years if we find we need to encourage people towards recycling, then it’s something that could be looked at, but I think it really skews the discussion in the wrong direction,” Chase said.
He said he likes the idea of a composting program, but said the city would have to build a new facility, which would be a longer-term objective that might be considered down the road.
New Brunswick Green Party Leader and Fredericton MLA David Coon said he’s happy the city is looking at multi-unit recycling, and said it’s an issue he hears a lot about from his constituents during community meetings.
“Most people want to do the right thing — they want to recycle, and it frustrates the heck out of them if they’re living in apartments that they can’t do that,” Coon said.
He said it’s something he’d like to see the Gallant government help implement across the province.
Chase said the recommendations could be implemented as soon as 2018.
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