Regina feeling the crunch of leaf disposal

Leaf and yard waste depots were debuted by the city in 2013. This year, the drop-off points were cancelled as a budget belt-tightening measure.

City cancellation of free drop-off program limits options for residents

The City of Regina cancelled its leaf and yard waste depot program this year as a budgetary measure. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

For some Regina residents, a crunchy dilemma is underfoot: deciding what to do with this year's leaves.

The city debuted leaf and yard waste depots in 2013. This year, the drop-off points were cancelled as a budget belt-tightening measure.

Residents still have options, according to Janet Aird, the city's waste diversion manager.

"You can still take leaf and yard waste to the landfill or it can go into your garbage bin, as long as it's bagged," she said.

While the curbside garbage bins carry no additional disposal cost, the bulkiness of leaves may pose a problem for some residents also needing to dispose of household waste. That's especially true as the city moves to its biweekly garbage pickup schedule, which begins in November.

At the landfill, residents can expect to pay a small fee of $10 for loads under 200 kilograms. Those hauling loads above 200 kilograms pay a rate of $85 per tonne, Aird said. 

Private business options

Other options for residents include services offered by private businesses, such as those listed through the city's online "Waste Wizard" tool. The tool can be found on the city's website.

BEST Land Farm, located north of the Global Transportation Hub, is among them. It accepts leaves delivered by residents and charges a load fee of $10.50. A pick-up truck box full of leaves constitutes a small load. For commercial loads, the business charges $65 per tonne.

Emterra Group is also listed on the city's Waste Wizard. Emterra offers an organic waste disposal service with weekly, curbside pickup for $125 per season. It runs until the first week of November.

They also offer larger bins, which are dropped off for $60, then picked up and emptied for $125.

Business booming

Emterra has seen a "significant increase in interest and subscription," according to Saskatchewan manager Tim Teeple.

"I'd like to think that some folks are getting a little more education and concern about the environment and what's going into the landfill," Teeple said.

"But I suspect that the cancellation of that [city] service is certainly playing a part in helping us get some folks signed up to the program."

The idea of leaf and yard waste depots is something the city plans to revisit for the next budget cycle, said Aird.

She added that dumping leaves in unauthorized locations within city limits is against city bylaws and can carry a fine.