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Waste Pilot Project results deemed succesful

Masha Scheele
Local Journalism Initiative

The Town of Hinton considered the Hardisty Waste Pilot Project a success, said Emdad Haque,  Hinton’s director of infrastructure services. 

The modernized system was found to be more efficient, cost-effective, and a benefit to the waste management system, according to Haque.

While there are still a few concerns with the new bins, Haque said nothing unexpected came up and issues were no more significant than what was observed with the old bins.

“With the new bins, if you ask me if we have any new problems or challenges I would say no, there’s no new challenges,” Haque said.

There were evidenced opportunities for potential efficiency gains to be had by modernizing the truck, Haque added.

Positive results showed there were less opportunities for illegal dumping, and overall aesthetics of the community improved.

Data collected throughout the pilot project evidenced that the wind didn’t pose a bigger issue compared to the old bins.

“Sometimes we had a better result [with the new bins]. In a higher wind condition, the older bin when it was completely full it tipped over but these bins mostly tip when it is empty,” Haque said.

Only in a few rare cases did full bins tip over in the pilot project, he added.

The Town also received very few complaints about the smaller size of the bins compared to the old bins.

Operators observed some overfull bins, but Haque explained this was mostly due to loose and un-bagged waste, like sod, which residents are not allowed to put in the bins.

Requests for additional bins were minimal, but staff observed a need for recycling  bulky materials such as cardboard.

The volume of the new bins is 96 gallons, 20 per cent smaller than the old bins.

Another issue Town staff looked at was how to manage parked vehicles.

In some cases, residents placed their bins beside parked vehicles for ease of access on garbage pick-up day.

Haque suggested that the town could look at options of banning street parking on garbage pick up days, especially if the new bins are implemented throughout Hinton.

“Right now for snow removal you have parking bylaw in most cities and towns so that on snow removal day you cannot park on a certain street,” Haque said as an example.

He said Hinton doesn’t have these kinds of bylaws but this could be done for garbage pick up.

Residents noticed that bins were not emptied some days, which Haque explained was due to truck breakdowns leading to delays.

“We are trying to keep up a fleet of aging equipment and from time to time the trucks have unforeseen problems which can take them out of service indefinitely,” Haque noted.

He explained that an issue with bins not being fully emptied was caused by how materials were placed inside the bin.

When lighter materials or boxes are stuck at the bottom there isn’t anything to push the materials out.

It’s up to the town to educate residents on how to best use the bins, he said.

“We hope if council approves a recycling [program] that this problem will also be gone, because people will put cardboard in a recycling bin,” Haque said.

Haque mentioned the possibility of a co-mingling recycling bin, for all kinds of recycling that is shipped directly to a sorting facility effectively.

He added that co-mingling recycling is an opportunity for more cost-effective recycling and would decrease waste being generated going to the landfill.

The new bins are also more cost effective bins at $75 to $80 compared to some other heavy duty bins of $400, Haque stated.

He said the removal of the old bins, which are time consuming and costly for maintenance, and the addition of the new bins, has reduced maintenance cost for East Hardisty to almost nothing.

Haque believes the fee to residents should also not be flat but instead be based on the volume being picked up by the truck. 

“There should be some kind of encouragement of generating less. Under the current system there is no encouragement. We’ll bring some scenarios to council,” Haque said.

Haque will present different options at the standing committee meeting on June 23.

Once an option is approved by council, staff would order a new truck within a week and new bins would be introduced in other neighbourhoods.

“We cannot customize the other truck overnight. In the first phase we could order 200 or 300 new bins while we only have one customized truck,” Haque said.

The first and second phase could be implemented in five months from July and if council chooses a recycling option, it could be implemented in late fall or early 2021.