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Council makes amendments to Waste Management and Wildlife Attractant Bylaw

City has heard concerns from residents and will allow containers to be used to store garbage before pickup.

It was announced by the City of Nelson in a media release Monday that council met to review amendments to the Waste Management and Wildlife Attractant Bylaw that were first introduced on December 19, 2016.

The release said the original amendments were developed as a means of protecting the safety of employees who have experienced injuries during the collection of garbage and recycling. 

Following the three-week trial period, City staff determined from resident and worker feedback, that further amendments be made prior to full implementation. 

Hearing those concerns, council has moved these new amendments through the first three readings, and is anticipated to adopt the final changes on April 3, 2017.
 
“The primary issue that we heard, were related to concerns of animals being attracted to garbage bags, and potentially tearing them open,” said Colin Innes, Director of Public Works & Utilities in the media release.

“The actual number of incidences of animals opening garbage bags during the trial period was extremely low, but, we recognize the potential for more wildlife interactions as temperatures warm up.”
 
City staff said in anticipation of the adoption of these final changes, going forward, residents would be allowed to use containers to store garbage before curbside pickup.

However, the media release said it remains the preference of the City for garbage bags to be placed for collection outside of a garbage can.
 
Residents wanting to place garbage into containers must follow these city rules:

  • Garbage bags will be lifted out of a garbage can by a City employee and placed into the truck;
  • Garbage cans will not be lifted by City employees;
  • Garbage bags that stick in cans will be left in the can;
  • Garbage bags must be the correct size or will be left in the can;
  • Garbage bags must be the correct weight or will be left in the can; and
  • Garbage bags must have a tag on every bag.  Untagged bags will be left in the can.

Innes said during the trial period it became very apparent from public feedback that there was a lot of confusion around what can or cannot be recycled in Nelson’s curbside program.

“For example, plastic shopping bags cannot be put in blue bags because they are flimsy and break down during the sorting process," Innes explained.

"This unfortunately turns them in to garbage preventing them from being recycled, which is why they need to be handled separately.”
 
The City recognized that additional information and education was required to help residents comply with the recycling program.

To help, the City produced a reference guide, which can be found here or a list of recycling items.
 
City staff said some feedback the City received was related to the maximum size of the garbage bag being 66cm x 97cm (26” x 38”).

“It seemed to surprise a lot of residents that there was a maximum bag size permitted and that this regulation had been around since 2003,” Innes said

“The tag-a-bag program, which included a maximum bag size, was implemented in 2003 as a means of encouraging the diversion of recyclables from the landfill," he added.

"Many residents may not realize that the City receives revenue for recyclables, but has to pay for the disposal of garbage. It is in our best interests as a community, from both an environmental and financial perspective, to limit our waste and promote recycling.”
 
City staff said they would like to thank residents for their cooperation and helpful feedback.

The City also encourages residents to continue to recycle and compost their organic materials to reduce the amount of landfill waste.