is this Mayor Dawe’s idea of transparency?

Although Aurorans trash a variety of things as I’ve commented on previously here: I don’t believe we go quite as far as some in New York:

Nor do I believe we abuse our garbage collection services as much as the Error Banner suggests we do:

Rewind back to October 2011 and the Banner reported on how “communities are flailing as they try to manage waste” :–landfills-filling-up-with-recyclables

Digging back another couple months to August 2011 we read that “Aurora is one of the few municipalities in York without a mandated garbage bag limit, for example, although the town is considering one.” :

Oh really, did you know the town was considering a mandated garbage bag limit?

I sure as hell didn’t.

Nothing has made it as far as the Aurora council with respect to garbage bag limits, howeverMayor Dawe’s notice of motion from the council meeting agenda of Tuesday November 26th certainly puts a twist on the issue. You can find that here:

Brock Weir wrote a piece on this here:

In it the Mayor and staff reference a similar program rolled out recently in Markham. The Error Banner’s reported on this back in April of last year:

Regional Councillor Jack Heath was quoted as saying “this was the least opposed change we’ve made in waste management” in this MSN News piece:

Cape Breton Regional Municipality has also adopted clear bags as of April of 2013.

Goderich and London have done the same:

The whole “clear garbage bags” trend brings back memories of the clear cola craze of the early 1990s, and although our Mayor and the municipalities mentioned above have drank the kool-aid this isn’t a Black & white, or black & clear issue by any means.

It has been a hotly debated topic in Orangville as reported on in the Citizen here:

As well as the Banner here:

And the Toronto Star here:

A petition was started here:

One of several legitimate concerns common to all these reports is if our governments are moving from garbage collection to garbage police?

Don’t think that already happens? Well you would be wrong. It was confirmed back in 2005 that garbage was being monitored and fines being issued in Dufferin
Grove Park:

In this Windsor article it was outlined that residents putting recyclables in their garbage bags would first receive reminder notices. Then they might be penalized.Garbage collectors would “leave a note behind. Penalties could come later in the form of fines:

Sounds like garbage police to me, I just can’t fathom the logistical nightmare and costs associated to such a program. The October 2011 Error Banner article even quoted a Brock site operator: “We can’t just get out of the machine and start picking out pop cans. You’d be here 16 hours a day.”

Leaving that aside for a minute I also don’t buy the whole safety angle.

How long has garbage been collected in opaque bags and cans ? 70, 80+ years.
Where is the huge spike in injury cases to support this?

I doubt there is one, it is just empty words used to support this agenda.

Interestingly enough recently at council there was a waste management presentation. You can watch it here:

There is nothing pertaining to any “clear bags” solution.
Instead there was a focus on education and partnerships that encourage re-use, items completely absent in the mayor’s motion.

Municipalities are judged primarily on their services. How effectively and efficiently is the snow cleared, the roads maintained and the garbage picked up.
This is was evidenced as a special meeting of council was called for yesterday morning to address service delays:

Interesting that the town’s service level for garbage in the recent service level report ( CAO13-022 ) wasn’t one of the items scrutinized by council.

Pg 13 lists 1 staff member under the mandatory service of Solid Waste Management for “Contract administration for collection service promotion and education,respond to residents.”

The costings are $2,096,120 with a revenue of $308,000 producing a cost per resident is $30.00.This expense is consistent over the past 4 years.

So if council hasn’t addressed an issue with the current service level why would the Mayor craft a Notice of motion with the sole purpose to exert social pressures on residents instead of incentives and increased education?

I agree entirely with a commentor on this article : who wrote:

Garbage reduction has to come from people’s purchasing habits. I asked the Recycle depot about #1 plastics, they said there’s no market for these types of plastics because they’re too low quality. Even if the City collected #1’s and sent them to a plastics manufacturer, the #1’s would still go into a landfill.

The Mayor’s motion completely fails to resolve this.

The Solution is to stop buying products packaged in #1 plastics like eggs. Instead buy eggs in paper cartons, then you have the choice to compost or recycle the carton.

The poster also forwards another good point:

One of the areas that MUST change IMHO is commercial garbage. Municipalities do not a have a mandate to control commercial waste. Businesses pay more for
composting and recycling than they do for landfill waste, this has to change but will require a provincial directive. Bug your MPP about commercial waste if you really want to see reductions at the landfills.

And although I’m sure our M.P.P.’s office response to any suggestion to seeking reductions in commercial waste would be to install one of these: the pressure the Mayor is all to eager to apply to all of us seems woefully misplaced.

Trash is proving to be one of those things, like any other of the Mayor’s notice’s of motion over this term, that are better off not seen.


2 thoughts on “is this Mayor Dawe’s idea of transparency?

  1. Okay, first of all: Bahahahaaaaa! Error Banner, I love it!!! hee heee.
    Now the serious stuff…does Aurora, or does Aurora not , have a garbage bag limit?? It is sooo confusing and you are the only one on the internet thus far that comes close to saying “no, not really, it’s sort of up in the air.” Is it up in the air? Is there a limit? I’m going to call the Town of Aurora on Monday, but would rather hear from you…you seem more down to earth!! Watt the hell, eh?

    1. Gail,

      Thanks for reading, and commenting.

      If there is a bag limit, and I seriously doubt it, it is not enforced. Back in April I sat down with the town’s waste coordinator about the clear bag thing.

      If we re-wind to July 15th 2008, Scott Johnston has a great column on the subject of a proposed 3 bag limit on page 5 of the Auroran here:

      Apparently Markham, who the town and region keep referencing as the poster child for clear bags allows unlimited bags as long as you use clear bags.

      A future post about the clear bag fiasco is in the works, the whole enforcement thing seems to be rather unsettled.

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