County switching to user-pay trash collection

Residents will be required to buy $2 garbage tags, but annual household waste levy to drop by about $80


SIMCOE COUNTY – Garbage collection in Simcoe County will be changing to a user-pay system next year, which means residents can expect to pay around $2 per bag come collection time.

The change will be implemented in July 2012, when current collection contracts come up for renewal. It will require residents to attach special tags to each bag at the curb, replacing the current system that allows for one untagged bag per week.

“User pay provides a financial incentive to residents who participate fully in available waste-diversion programs and reduce their garbage requiring disposal,” Warden Cal Patterson stated in a press release.

“It will also help our residents make informed shopping choices when they fully consider the costs of managing the wastes they purchase.”

The county said the change isn’t intended to drive up revenues, but to reduce the waste levy per household to approximately $70 from $150, along with giving residents another incentive to reduce household waste.

According to reports, the revenue from tag sales would be used to cover the cost of the garbage collection and disposal, “thereby eliminating the garbage collection and disposal cost passed on through municipal taxes and levies.”

Penetanguishene Deputy Mayor Patrick Marion argued against the move, noting the change is “unfair” to large families and apartment residents, and could also lead to an increase in illegal dumping.

Midland Mayor Gord McKay refuted the latter suggestion. He said a staff report shows no direct link has been found between restrictive limits for curbside collection and the amount of illegal dumping.

The report also points to the green-bin program that started when the one-bag limit was launched three years ago. Statistics showed the tonnages actually decreased from previous years.

Midland Deputy Mayor Stephan Kramp called the user-pay system a “bold step” by county council.

“It is a process that is still unfolding, but, given the debate over the last four years over Site 41, this county council had to take a stand on getting serious about waste reduction,” he said. “In the long run, it’s the right thing to do.”

Other council members are pushing for a “clear-bag system” to help improve the diversion of recyclable and organic waste.


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