Fredericton considers charging fee per bag of garbage

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The City of Fredericton is considering changes to its garbage and recycling program.

An engineering, architecture and environmental consulting company, GHD, has made several recommendations to the city, which will "provide a basis for moving forward," according to Coun. Stephen Chase, who is also chair of the public safety and environment committee.

"It's something that the residents have been asking for," said Chase. "People want to participate in recycling and to see improved waste management."

The recommendations include:

- Development of a promotion and education plan to notify residents of existing programs and future programs.

- Phaseout drop-off recycle depots and replace them with curbside recycling at multi-unit residential buildings.

- Implement automated curbside collection of garbage. This requires a change to the cart and automated arm collection systems and could include limiting the number of garbage containers or bags per residence, decreasing collection frequency, or a pay-as-you-throw system or a fee-per-bag policy.

GHD also recommends further investigation of a Source Separated Organics (SSO) program. Fredericton does not currently have a compost kitchen waste program.

A residential compost program review would need to consider collection and processing methods, as well as cost, the consultants said.

The city is waiting on a report from staff about the recommendations, but Chase said he could see a few of them being implemented in the near future.

"There's definitely a number of low-hanging fruit that are identified in that report," he said.

One of the first recommendations that could be tackled, he suggested, is the collection of recyclables for multi-unit buildings.

Chase also said he's in favour of the "pay-as-you-throw" model, which would see residents charged for the amount of waste they throw out. 

"I like that opportunity because it would promote diversion of materials," he said.

"It would probably improve the efficiency of the system. I'd like to see the staff analysis of where that might lead, but initially, I like the idea and I want to see us flesh it out."