Saskatoon to spend $1.2 M on garbage tracking system

About 66,000 black garbage carts to be outfitted with barcoded tags linking each bin to a residential address. The program will also see garbage trucks get real-time GPS tracking and cameras.

66,000 black garbage carts to be outfitted with barcoded tags, garbage trucks to get GPS, cameras

About 66,000 black garbage carts in Saskatoon will be retrofitted with the new tracking tags. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC)

The City of Saskatoon has announced it plans to spend $1.2 million to implement a new garbage tracking system.

The new initiative will see about 66,000 black garbage bins across the city outfitted with small plastic tags, containing a barcode. Each barcode links a resident's cart to their address, a design function similar to that of the tags on residential recycling bins.

Brenda Wallace, Director of Environmental and Corporate Initiatives with the city, said the project will save money in the long run, despite its considerable implementation cost.

"[It] allows us to track our collections, in order to drive efficiencies," Wallace said. 

The tagging of garbage bins is part of a larger Garbage Service Verification project the city is implementing to streamline garbage collection, eliminate redundancies and improve productivity.

The project will also include equipping garbage trucks with real-time GPS and cameras.

"[It] will allow the city to save taxpayers more than $200,000 a year ... currently, if a driver needs to leave the route to empty their truck at the landfill, they have no way, other than their own memory, to remember where they left off," Wallace explained.

The city is asking residents to watch for a notification letter so they know when to put their garbage carts out for tagging.

This notification tag will be left on residential garbage bins once tagging is complete. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)

Beginning next week, city crews will begin tagging the bins in the neighbourhoods of Erindale, Briarwood, Wildwood, Lawson Heights, City Park and the city's downtown.

"We now will have a measure of how carts are being used in the city," Wallace said.

The money for the project comes from an internal loan the City of Saskatoon has taken, which it estimates will take them between six and seven years to repay.

Residents with questions about the garbage tags are asked to go online or call 306-975-2486.

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