Beaconsfield introduces new pay-as-you-throw garbage collection system

The city of Beaconsfield will be switching to a new pay-as-you-throw garbage pickup system in the new year — with a techie twist.

New garbage bins have transponders, homeowners charged per collection

Beaconsfield is one of the highest producers of garbage on the island of Montreal, but it says it plans to change that by creating incentives for those who recycle and compost. (Karen Messier)

The city of Beaconsfield will be switching to a new pay-as-you-throw garbage pickup system in the new year — with a techie twist.

In an effort to curb waste by 55 per cent and encourage citizens to compost, the city has invested in three sizes of garbage bins equipped with Radio-frequency identification (RFID) transponders.

The mini, standard or hefty-sized garbage cans will be distributed to citizens for free late this fall.

Each time the bins are picked up by a garbage truck's mechanical arm, the transponder is scanned.

At the end of the year, each household is charged according to how many times it put out its bins. The system does not measure the weight of the bin, only how many times it is put out.

City hopes to save residents money

Karen Messier, a Beaconsfield city councillor, said the city's end goal is to reduce not just waste but how much citizens pay for garbage removal. Right now, the flat rate for garbage pickup is $176 annually.

"If you choose the mini bin, and put it out every two weeks, you'll pay about $150, so you will save some money," said Messier.

Tune in to CBC Radio One's Daybreak at 7:15 a.m. for more on this. Tune in on 88.5FM or listen here.

Pilot project tested system

A one-year pilot project tested out the microchip system with the cooperation of 300 Beaconsfield residents.

One was Leona Kemp, who has lived in the city since 1993. Kemp said she found the pilot project reduced her garbage load to one small bin every two weeks and jump-started her family's composting habit.

"I was frustrated at first, but the city had a master composter come over to the house, who gave me advice, and everything worked out fine. My kids are involved in it too -- my daughters and grandchildren all became composters," said Kemp.

Some citizens doubtful

But not all Beaconsfield residents support the new system.

Wesley Prillo is concerned that people will start dropping off their garbage at public waste bins to avoid being charged. He's also worried that citizens could create a mess by improperly storing their compost.

"Beaconsfield is the guinea pig for this project, and I'm for the betterment of the city," said Prillo. "The composting is great, but this pilot project was only tested on 300 people. It's not a big segment of the population. Now they'll have to educate everyone."

Beaconsfield will hold an open house in the fall to provide information to residents about the system.

People have until late September to order the bins, which will be delivered in late November.

The system will come into effect as of Jan. 1, 2016.


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