The Regional District of Nanaimo recently began automated garbage collection services.
Some issues have emerged that Larry Gardner, manager of solid waste services, says are impacting the efficiency of the services.
One of them is cart placement. Gardner said residents can help leave a space between the carts, preferably a metre apart, and also make sure space above the carts are clear of eaves trough, trees and other objects.
“These trucks, when dumping, are at about 15 feet high and residents need to be aware of what is directly above the carts,” said Gardner. “General rule, when it comes to cart placement, the more space is better. Once we can get that under control, it would make the drivers’ days much better.”
Gardner said they’ve gratefully noted that in many places in the district residents who are out for a walk have helped adjust neighbours carts by turning them to face the right way and square to the road, as well as spacing them.
“It puts a smile on my face that there are people in our community that take that extra effort for the common good,” said Gardner.
Residents are reminded to mark where drivers leave the carts after collection and use the location to place the carts for future collection days.
“Drivers have been getting out of the trucks to re-orient or move carts for pick up, however, this ‘grace period’ ends at the end of October,” Gardner said. “Drivers will not be getting out of the trucks starting in November to orient carts, and carts that can’t be accessed will not be emptied.”
Also starting in November, residents can exchange their default trash bins to either a larger cart or a smaller recycling bin. The plan is to collect the default bins. Residents will receive a call the day before to set them out at the curb for exchange. It will cost $50 to exchange to a smaller or larger carts.
Food waste carts should be locked at the curb for collection day to prevent wildlife interactions. Gardner said the gravity lock will release when the carts are being dumped by the truck.
Gardner also advised that cart lids need to be closed to prevent damage to the carts when being emptying and also it keeps the community clean overall as it would avoid litter from scattering due to wind of birds accessing the trash.
Overflowing carts is another concern. Gardner says everything needs to be contained in the bins with the lids closed.
“Excess materials need to be stored until the next collection day or taken to a recycling depot, transfer station or landfill as appropriate,” said Gardner.
Gardner said contamination is not a huge issue yet but the regional district have received reports of people purposely placing garbage in recycling/food waste carts. They have been tagged and warned. The RDN has the ability to levy fines for repeat offenders.
As for your old containers, Gardner said that empty and reasonably clean containers are currently being accepted at the landfill and transfer station at no charge and being set aside. They be shipped to Merlin Plastics in Richmond to be recycled.
The RDN is currently arranging for a pickup service of unwanted bins to take place during late November and early December.