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City of Edmonton hopes to avoid winter waste issues with new cart system

·2 min read
City of Edmonton education program supervisor Erika Droessler offers tips for managing waste carts in the winter. (Samuel Martin/CBC - image credit)
City of Edmonton education program supervisor Erika Droessler offers tips for managing waste carts in the winter. (Samuel Martin/CBC - image credit)

With the arrival of cold, snowy weather, and the winter holidays just around the corner, the City of Edmonton is offering tips to residents to help manage their waste.

This is the first winter Edmontonians will be using the new waste cart system, and cooler temperatures and snow could cause issues for residents and city garbage collectors.

"We want to make sure that cart is easy to walk around and at least a metre away from other obstacles," education program supervisor Erika Droessler said at a news conference Thursday. "Please make sure that you don't put your cart behind or on top of a pile of snow."

Carts should be on level ground or compacted snow and away from downspouts or discharge pipes where they could freeze to the ground.

Food scrap carts come with even more challenges during the winter.

"It's very normal for food scraps to freeze inside the food scrap carts," Droessler explained. "We have a few best practices that can prevent a lot of freezing."

The city suggests keeping the carts outdoors as liquid can pool in the bottom when indoors and freeze when moved outside.

Other tips include straining liquid from watery organics, pre-freezing organics before placing them in the cart, and using certified compostable bags.

If organic waste freezes in the bin, the city says to use a broom handle or shovel to loosen the items.

Droessler said more than 250,000 residences are now on the new system, which began rolling out in March.

"The cart roll out has gone fairly well and that is in large part thanks to the efforts of Edmontonians," she said.

Droessler said they have heard complaints about missed collections, the pick-up schedule and the capacity of the bins, but people are adapting.

As the holidays see a dramatic increase in waste disposal, the city suggests giving waste-friendly gifts, using quality decorations that will last, donating unwanted holiday items, planning festival feasts so food does not get wasted and recycling things like wrapping paper and old electronics.

The city encourages residents t download the WasteWise app to help determine if specific items should be recycled, composted or disposed of.

On Thursday, city administration released its plan to reduce single-use items. It includes a number of proposed restrictions:

  • Ban on single-use plastic bags

  • 15-cent minimum fee for paper bags, $1 minimum fee for reusable bags

  • 25-cent mandatory minimum for single-use cups

  • Ban on single-use plastic straws, with exceptions to those that need straws

  • Ban on styrofoam cups and containers

  • Encouragement for vendors to promote and accept the use of reusable cups and containers by customers

The plan will be presented to the utility committee at a later date. If approved, it will be presented to city council.

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