Peel residents are not properly throwing out their compost, the public works commissioner Dan Lebrecque has told regional councilors.
Lebrecque referred to the findings from his 2013 report of a bi-weekly garbage collection project on Thursday, Jan. 15.
Despite regular recycling of glass, paper and plastic, Peel residents are discarding 44 per cent of their compost in regular garbage bags instead of green bins.
“We’ve done a lot of market surveying and it’s just behavioral. For a lot of people … it’s just not important to them,” Lebrecque says. “People are putting poison into the ground and it’s affecting our soil and groundwater. It gets expensive to get that stuff out.”
Given the success of other GTA regions, Peel is starting bi-weekly garbage collection in 2016, but how informed are residents and how kindly will they take to the change?
“It’s fairly early in the process,” says Orchard Heights Homeowners Association (OHHA) president Dudley Briggs.
“We have only just been advised of this coming to be … I don’t know that many residents know that much about it.”
Briggs says the OHHA has updated its website and will soon send out flyers to let residents know about the change.
Mary MacDonald has been a resident of Orchard Heights for more than 30 years and says while she had not heard of the plan, her family uses a green bin regularly –although they might be an exception in the neighbourhood.
“I don’t recall either of my neighbours ever using it,” says MacDonald. “I think there are only maybe one or two people on our street that has it.”
It makes all the sense in the world for OHHA vice-president Janet M. Jackson,who says she uses her green bin quite a bit.
“Once we started using it, we had way less garbage to take out to the street. I feel good that I’m making a difference in our environment and helping our planet and I’m surprised that there are a lot of folks out there that aren’t,” Jackson says.
Whether Peel Region residents know it or not, change is coming and whether they like it or not, Lebrecque’s report shows it could be for the better.
“Everybody else in the GTA that’s gone bi-weekly has punched the rates up 70-80 per cent in participation and diversion,” says Lebrecque. “There’s less garbage. It’s been proven.”
The Public Works Commission hopes to achieve similar results for Peel Region in the coming years. Lebrecque says the responses from town hall meetings have been favourable.
“We’re letting each neighborhood sort itself through. We lever the community to help us, but it’s a non-punitive way of doing things,” Lebrecque says.