by JULIE CADIEUX
ST. LAZARE — It’s been a month since residents were forced to begin complying with the municipality’s new one-to-two-bin garbage pickup policy and already, there are changes to ease the transition.
“The town gave us one bin, but apparently we can have two — but they won’t give us or sell us another one” says Laurie-Anne, a five-year resident. The city supplied every household with one 240-litre wheeled bin last fall — then relaxed the rules to allow residents to buy their own second wheeled bin of up to 360 litres, but just for this one year.
“I am tempted to go out and buy one, but they cost over $100 and I won’t be able to use it next year,” says Laurie-Anne. Next year residents will be down to a single bin, either the 240-litre bin from the city or their own 360-litre bin.
By 2014 everyone will be required to use one 240-litre bin.
“Even though two bins might seem harsh, the city of St. Lazare is rather late compared to other cities that have been imposing one bin for several years,” said the town’s communications director Geneviève Hamel.
It’s clear something needed to be done when the average Quebecker produces 272 kilos of trash compared to St. Lazare’s 400 kilos. Last summer council members approved the new mandatory trash bins to begin conforming to the MRC’s guidelines of a 60-percent reduction in organic waste by 2014 and zero organic waste by 2021. While some councillors favoured a return to the 52-week schedule and limiting pickup to one bin per household, it was District 4 councillor Michel Lambert who argued for retaining the 36-week schedule, allowing two bins for the first year and adding a monthly large-item pickup for the time it takes to open the four regional eco-centres. (The first, on Henri-Ford in Vaudreuil-Dorion, will open later this year.)
For situations such as the one in the photo, residents can take advantage of dumpsters located at the municipal garage, 1875 avenue Bedard on the chemin Sainte-Elisabeth side. They’re available 24 hours a day, said District 3 councillor Brigitte Asselin. However only garbage and/or recycling surplus can be brought there — large objects must be collected on the first garbage pickup of the month.
While most agree with the concept of reducing waste, some find the adjustment difficult. I had guests over Christmas and a huge New Year’s Eve party and two families living at my house for four days and was expected to magically get rid of all of this trash in one small bin. Others have admitted to illegal dumping. “There is lots of new construction where we live, so I add my extra trash in the dumpsters,” said one. “Who wants to put stinky, leaking two-week-old trash that the garbage man didn’t want to pick up and put it in their car and drive it somewhere?” added another.
For couples or residents living alone the transition hasn’t been a big deal. “One bin is plenty for us, but I do find I am more careful about recycling, knowing I don’t have unlimited trash anymore,” said Dwight, a single dad.
“I find the great majority of residents understand and agree with the direction taken,” said District 5 councillor Gilbert Arsenault. “When we decided to go ahead with this reduction plan, we knew many of us would need to adjust. This is why we planned and implemented transition measures.”
The Hudson St-Lazare Gazette – Wednesday February 1st, 2012 – Julie Cadieux