Edmonton

Garbage collection will cost most Edmonton homes the same in 2022

Nearly 400,000 households in Edmonton won’t pay more for garbage pickup next year, after city council’s utility committee agreed Thursday to a zero per cent rate increase in the waste services budget for 2022. 

Council's utility committee agreed to a zero per cent rate increase for 400,000 homes

Some 250,000 single family homes and 160,000 multi-unit homes separate organics and recyclables from regular garbage in this year's new cart system. (Samuel Martin/CBC)

Nearly 400,000 households in Edmonton will pay the same for garbage pickup next year, after city council's utility committee agreed Thursday to a zero per cent rate increase in the waste services budget for 2022. 

It means single-family and multi-unit homes will pay $48.32 per month for a 240-litre garbage cart, or $43.32 a month for a 120-litre garbage cart, until Dec. 31, 2022.

Council is expected to give the waste services budget final approval next week, along with the operating and capital budgets.

Residents of multi-unit buildings like condos and apartment buildings that are transitioning to curbside cart service will see an increase of less than $4 a month, the budget says. 

At the utility committee meeting, councillors didn't belabour the zero per cent increase but instead took the chance to review the progress and hiccups of the city's new garbage collection system. 

Tim Cartmell, councillor for Ward pihêsiwin, suggested the city look at offering different sized bins depending on the need of the household. 

"I've got a lot of constituents, for instance — empty nesters, for lack of a better word, they can't fill that green bin in a week or two, or even in a month, so should they get a smaller bin and pay half the rate."

Some councillors raised issues with the seasonal yard waste pickup, in which crews picked up leaves, grass and twigs in clear plastic or brown paper bags on two days in the fall. 

The city is proposing a slight increase in the garbage collection rate from 2023 to 2026. (City of Edmonton)

Erin Rutherford, councillor for Ward Anirniq, said some residents, herself included, had issues with the yard waste pickup. 

"My yard waste was not picked up," Rutherford said during the meeting. "We put it out on the date that it was supposed to be picked up — it wasn't." 

Her husband called the city's 311 complaint line, she said.

"311 told him [to] put it out, it'll be picked up within a week. It's now December and it's still sitting in our back alley."

Denis Jubinville, branch manager of waste services, said his team is reviewing how it went this year, to pin down a more effective way of doing the seasonal pickup in the spring. 

"We did hear what you're hearing as well, so I want to acknowledge that," Jubinville told Rutherford. 

The city picks up yard waste separately from green cart and blue bag collection, he noted, with trucks that don't have the cart-tipping automated function. The collection takes longer and has to be staggered.

Coun. Ashley Salvador asked how successful the city has been at diverting materials from the landfill  — one of the major reasons the city adopted the new cart system. 

Jubinville said by 2025, the city aims to keep 70 per cent of residential waste out of the landfill. 

Last year, the city diverted less than 20 per cent of residential waste from the landfill and this year, it is aiming for 40 per cent, Jubinville said. 

"People are starting to transition their behaviours," he said. "We're starting to see them separate better than they were initially."

Cartmell also said with any major change, it's natural to have growing pains. 

"Our systems will adapt and refine, perhaps give more a menu of choices," Cartmell said in an interview. "I think it's a solid start, but is there a long way to go? Of course there is, there's a lot of tweaking and fixing and massaging of the processes to be done."

City administration is expected to prepare a report for utility committee early next year on potential adjustments to the cart system.

@natashariebe

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