Lower west residents will move to biweekly garbage pickup

·3 min read

SAINT JOHN • Property owners on Saint John's lower west side will see their garbage collected every other week, instead of once weekly, starting this fall.

The City of Saint John has rolled out this schedule change as part of its new Waste Wise program, which will introduce curbside recycling in addition to changes to the city's existing waste collection program.

New 180-litre garbage carts, which can hold up to two garbage bags, will be distributed to 19,000 of the program's 22,000 households, as well as green and blue bins to sort out recycling, starting the week of Sept. 12. Delivery is expected to take up to five weeks, according to Tim O'Reilly, Saint John's director of public works and transportation.

An "urban bag tag" system is expected to be used for about 3,000 households in special collection neighbourhoods and for households who receive weekly collection service. A limit of two bags every other week, if that's your collection cycle, or one bag per weekly collection will be introduced.

Those households who receive garbage carts will be limited to two bags per collection, unless bag tags are purchased.

The new Waste Wise program, which will come into effect this October, comes after what was deemed a successful pilot program that served 1,100 Saint John households.

O'Reilly said there have been some adjustments made to the program after its pilot phase. The city has decided to distribute "urban bag tags" in areas where garbage cart pickups will not be possible, he said, and noted these tags will be distributed for free in a three-month replenishment cycle.

Those who do not get the carts will have a limit of one urban tag a week, O'Reilly said, noting any extra garbage bags over the limit will require an extra bag tag that residents can get for $2 each.

O'Reilly said households demonstrating financial need will be able to receive free bag tags for their extra garbage under a six-month pilot project. The free tags will be available at nearby community centres, he said, and they will be given in limited quantities, about 10 extra tags.

"Certainly what we don't want to have happen are households that are choosing to pay for a $2 bag tag over putting food on the table, shelter, etcetera," O'Reilly said.

About 22,000 households in Saint John will be served through the new Waste Wise program, which includes recycling in addition to garbage and compost services.

Green recycling totes will be distributed for plastics and metals, while blue totes, with a lid, will be distributed for paper and cardboard, O'Reilly said, noting the totes can be stacked on top of each other and then topped with the lid to prevent littering during windy days.

The carts and totes will be dropped off at households along with instruction manuals, O'Reilly said, and those on the urban bag tag system will receive a sheet of 13 tags every three months via mail.

The free extra tags pilot project for residents demonstrating financial need is expected to begin in advance of the recycling pickup, O'Reilly said, noting the city is still working on details of the Waste Wise program and more information will be shared in the future.

Rhythm Rathi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal