Waste in Regina: Crunching the numbers

Waste in Regina: Crunching the numbers

The City of Regina’s annual report on its waste plan indicates that the municipality isn’t quite where it thought it would be when it first developed the strategy in 2009, although it is making progress.

40 Per cent of residential waste that was hoped to be diverted from the landfill by the end of 2015. The diversion rate currently sits at 18.4 per cent. The 40 per cent goal was based on the assumption that curbside recycling would have been implemented earlier than July 2013, and that the city would have already introduced other programs, said director of solid waste Lisa Legault. Despite that, she said the city is still working with an eye to that 40 per cent target for 2015.

16,229 Tonnes of recyclables collected from the start of the curbside program in July 2013 to December 2014. That’s well below the initial expectation of at least 15,000 tonnes per year. The report says the city has not reached its target volumes because of resident participation and unacceptable material chucked into bins. “It’s a program in its infancy,” said Legault. “It’s going to take a number of years for people to fully understand what is and isn’t recyclable, and take that responsibility at the household level to make the effort to recycle.”

72 Per cent of the 62,000 homes with curbside pickup that put out a recycling bin on a regular basis. Legault said that number is deceptive, as some people might not be able to put out their bin every two weeks.

45 Per cent of the 878 multi-family residences (apartments and condominiums) that had submitted a report by Jan. 12 saying they have implemented a recycling program. That was required by New Year’s Day. The program is expected to increase diversion rates by five to seven percentage points.

83 Per cent of recycling bins that are at least half full when they’re put out for collection. The report says it would be “premature” to change the frequency of collection until the volume of recyclables increases.

15.8 Per cent of recyclable material collected that is deemed “unacceptable.” Legault said people toss toys and clothing into bins, which shows the city could invest in more education around recycling.

42 Per cent of garbage bins that are completely full when they’re rolled to the curb every week. Nineteen per cent contain recyclable material.

25 Cents per day that the blue cart curbside recycling program costs residents. The program has finally broken even, but the report warns that if residents don’t participate in the program, and continue to place incorrect materials in the bins, fees could increase.

Moving ahead

2015: Legault said the focus for this year is on public education and awareness of other diversion options, like the household hazardous waste days. The city is also offering the option to residents to select a smaller garbage bin when they first receive garbage service or need to replace their existing bin. Finally, Emterra, which processes recyclables for Regina, is currently installing equipment to sort broken glass effectively so that it can be used for city road construction.

2016: Administration will make recommendations to city council concerning the big blue bin program, which Legault said is being used less now that household recycling is available.

2017: The city plans to introduce leaf and yard waste collection.

2018 and onward: Administration will recommend a single solid waste user fee for collection services and bulky waste collection options, research the possibility of organic waste collection, and re-evaluate curbside collection frequency.

[Leader Post article] Photo - Leader Post