Nova Scotia

Trash talk: your questions answered about clear bags

CBC News answers questions about the new clear bag garbage collection system that comes into effect on Aug. 1

Halifax residents can have 5 clear bags, 1 dark or 'privacy' bag

Starting Aug. 1, all garbage will be need to be sorted and thrown out in clear plastic bags. But many people are a little unclear about the finer details. (CBC)

The way households in the Halifax region deal with their garbage is about to change. CBC News has the answers for your questions about the new clear bag garbage collection system. 

Starting Aug. 1, all garbage will need to be sorted and thrown out in clear plastic bags. But many people are a little unclear about the finer details. 

"I'm trying to get ready for it, but there's so much to think about," says Marilyn Maskell, adding she always takes great care in sorting her garbage and recycling.

But how do you deal with grass clippings, private materials, or animal droppings under the new rules? The city says there are ways to deal with it all and still prevent landfills from piling up with the wrong trash. 

"The overall intention of us moving to clear bags is that there's still material ending up in the landfill that should be recycled or composted," said city spokesperson Tiffany Chase. 

"We've known that in other jurisdictions, they've seen an increase in recycling and organics and a decrease in the amount of wrong material going to landfill."

Clearly not a waste of time

Under the new rules, each home is allowed to have five clear bags and one dark — or just six clear ones. 

For pet owners, animal waste can be managed in either the privacy bag or clear garbage bags. Any pet waste that is in the clear bag, however, must be loose or in other clear bags 

Use plastic grocery bags for small bins in your home? If you don't want to empty them into the clear bag, they can be tied up and put in the dark one — what the city calls "nesting".

If you're worried about people seeing personal items in the clear bags, the city suggests you use a black bin for curbside collection. 

The dark or 'privacy' bag can include personal items, animal waste, or plastic grocery bags that are often used for smaller household bins. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Boxboard? It's now being combined with newspaper. 

And for all that freshly-cut summer grass

"We're encouraging people to participate in grass-cycling, we call it, which is where you would just put those clippings on your lawn. Those clippings contain a number of healthy nutrients."

Anyone not following the rules may get a note from garbage collectors for the first few weeks. 

If you're still confused after that, the city says it is developing an app to making sorting rules simpler. It will be ready by Aug. 1. 

For more information, visit the Let's Be Clear, Halifax website.

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