Central Okanagan regional environmental services manager Peter Rotheisler presenting to Kelowna city council Monday.—Image credit: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Financial incentives to reduce garbage collection?

Central Okanagan waste management officials looking at less-frequent garbage pick-up costing less.

Regional authorities in the Central Okanagan are considering introducing financial incentives to convince residents to put out their garbage for curbside collection less frequently than once a week.

In a presentation to Kelowna city council of what’s being considered in an update to the regional solid waste management plan, regional environmental services manager Peter Rotheisler said one of the curbside collection service changes being considered is allowing residents to pay less if they put out the garbage less often.

He said the ability to have such a system is in place now because cameras on collection trucks record data about how often garbage is put out as individual addresses across the region. He said the system could be similar to the how water meters operate, with a basic charge and then additions based on frequency of collection.

He said, despite opposition from West Kelowna council to a possible move to biweekly curbside collection, is still under consideration. But, he added, if the financial incentive strategy was to be adopted, that move would not be necessary.

Kelowna council was the last municipal council to be briefed on the new strategies under consideration to deal with solid waste management in the Central Okanagan. Prior to this presentation, Rotheisler while neither the Lake Country nor Peachland councils said they supported biweekly collection when the same presentation was made to them, they did not oppose it being looked at.

Under provincial mandate, all regional districts must have a solid water management plan in place and must review it every 10 years.

Kelowna council was not asked to approve or oppose any part of the information Rotheisler presented and only one councillor, Gail Given, mentioned changing garbage collection frequency. She said less frequent collection would not be an issue for her personally, but some people, especially those with large families, may find it problematic.

Rotheisler said any recommendations for change would come at a later date.

In addition to possible changes to garbage pick-up—now provided weekly through out the region, other changes being considered include weekly recycling collection, increased yard waste collection, curbside glass, Styrofoam and film (stretchy plastic) collection, bear-proof waste containers and a new service to pick-up bulky items such as old mattresses.

The cost of looking at the new strategies is included in the existing financial plan, said Rotheisler, so there is no budget impact for the work currently being done.

The creation of a collection depot in the Kelowna Mission area is also being looked at, while original suggestions, such as mandatory use of clear garbage bags, reducing the size of existing garbage carts and reducing the frequency of yard waste collection have all been dropped from consideration after public and stakeholder consultations.