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Permanent bi-weekly garbage pickup in Saskatoon axed — for now

Garbage and recycling bins booted back to the back lanes for collection in Saskatoon.
A Saskatoon city committee has rejected a proposal to move to permanent bi-weekly garbage collection until it has an idea what a city-wide organics collection program will look like. File / Global News

Permanent bi-weekly garbage collection is not coming to Saskatoon in the near future.

The city’s governance and priorities committee addressed the issue on Monday after receiving a report from administration.

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City council had asked administration to look at “reducing the frequency of black cart garbage pickup in some months from weekly to bi-weekly” at its July 29 meeting.

Administration said moving to year-round bi-weekly collection could save the city roughly $500,000 yearly — $309,000 in fuel and maintenance savings, and $191,000 in salaries for seven seasonal collection operators.

Normal household garbage and non-recycle waste are currently collected weekly between May and October and bi-weekly between November and April.

The committee voted down two motions to change pickup times in the upcoming 2020 city budget debate.

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Mayor Charlie Clark said until council knows what a city-wide organics collection would look like, it is not willing to make any changes.

“We want to have the most efficient service as possible,” Clark said.

“We also want to help people do things that are the most cost-effective to the city in the long haul which is why we’re talking about the city organics program to reduce the pressure on the landfill.”

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Clark says the city could change the frequency of black bin pick-ups if organic bins are in place to take household waste.

The city has set 2023 as the start date for a curbside household organic waste collection program.

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Curbside organics collection was initially expected to begin in 2020 after months of debate in 2018.

The move to an organics collection is meant to extend the life of Saskatoon’s landfill.

The city has a target of diverting 70 per cent of its waste from the landfill by 2023. The city managed a diversion rate of 23 per cent in 2018.

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Officials have said if action isn’t taken to reduce the amount of waste currently going to the landfill, it would have to be closed and a new one opened at an estimated cost of $150 million.