Saskatoon’s green cart program is reducing the amount of waste going to the dump, and now the city is looking to offer different black cart sizes for residents in response to this.
The black cart program was discussed at Tuesday’s environment, utilities and corporate services committee with a look at the impact green carts have had in the city since they were launched in May.
A report to the committee said curbside garbage tonnage has dropped by 30 per cent compared with the same time last year.
Are you familiar with the Green Cart program?
From May through June, 13,530 tonnes of garbage and 8,540 tonnes of organics have been collected.
The plan says three sizes of black carts will be offered in Spring 2024: the current 360-litre large bin, a medium 240-litre bin and a small 120-litre or 135-litre bin.
Brendan Lemke, director of water and waste operations, said the full cost of curbside garbage services will transition from a mill rate to a flat rate utility fee.
The fee will start at $9.92 per month in January 2024 with a variable utility fee being introduced mid-year based on the size of the black cart chosen.
A low-income $100-a-year waste utility subsidy will also be available.
The proposed rates from city administration were $3.73 for a small cart, $7.05 for a medium cart and $10.58 for the current, large cart.
Saskatoon’s green cart program rolling out in March
“We are expecting between 25 and 40 per cent of residents will request a smaller size during the first year of our operation,” Lemke said.
Lemke said 44 per cent of the funds from the utility rate would cover collection and container management, 34 per cent would cover processing and landfilling, nine per cent would go to program management, five per cent to the capital and reserve contributions, another five per cent to debt repayment and the final three per cent for bylaw enforcement and education.
Coun. Darren Hill said he didn’t agree with this plan and wanted to keep the garbage cost tied to property taxes.
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“There is not enough evidence to support that variable cart sizes will have the measurable result desired to divert waste from the landfill,” Hill said.
He called this a waste of taxpayer money, but said he wouldn’t vote against it and would like to have it debated during a council meeting.
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“I stand still opposed to this utility and I think it is just a simple shame what we have done in order to create a new revenue stream, and thinking that the citizens of Saskatoon are not aware that that’s what we did.”
Coun. Troy Davies agreed, adding that enough work has gone into this report that it should be debated among all of city council, not just those on the committee.
Coun. Mairin Loewen said she saw value in the program, noting it’s reflected in best practices seen in other jurisdictions.
“One of the things we’ve talked about since the inception of this process is the value of giving people the ability to control their costs,” Loewen said.
She said this was beneficial for residents, but also businesses and condos that have been paying taxes for a service that they haven’t been receiving.
Coun. Hilary Gough also saw the benefit of this program, saying they need to continue refining where waste goes in the city.
The implementation plan was passed by the committee and will be discussed by city council later in September.
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