TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Garbage bins and recycling bins line lawns bordering the alley behind Third Street in Brandon on Wednesday.
Penalties for failing to abide by the city’s solid waste and recycling bylaw may never have been meted out, but fines may still apply for those who fail to comply with the law.
A new solid waste bylaw, one that included components for recycling and organic waste collection, was presented to Brandon city council on Monday.
"While the bylaw currently before council is for back lanes, we’ve had front street pickups for years," said Rod Sage, the city’s operational services general manager. "The fee schedule won’t change and there are penalties there for non-compliance and contamination (or mixing of recycled materials with regular garbage). As far as I know, we’ve never had to get to the fourth or fifth levels of penalties for non-compliance."
Financial penalties were already in effect for those who broke the garbage bylaw three times, which is why enforcement has been rare. Sage said after one or two warnings, city residents fell in line.
Fines for third offences are $51.25, while a fourth offence would cost $102.50 and a fifth offence would set the offender back $205. Any further violations would cost $205 up to a total cost of $1,500 per fiscal year.
"We have home owners that, while the have a black-lidded bin for garbage and a blue-lidded bin for recycling, they were using both for their waste," Sage said. "When people aren’t participating or complying with what we are trying to do, then that defeats the purpose of recycling because all of the loads are picked up and taken to the landfill and dumped on a floor within the recycling facility."
Sage said it can only take two per cent of the city’s residents to severely hamper the city’s sorting or recycled goods.
"It really becomes an operational nightmare when, for the most part, citizens in Brandon are very good at recycling," Sage said. "It only takes that two to three per cent to ruin it for the other 97 or 98 per cent that are doing their part. The guy can be working in the recycling facility and get a load that’s full of contamination."
Sage said the city audits the effectiveness of its recycling programs through checking what is collected in neighbourhoods throughout the city. Provincial audits are also done that are more stringent, sometimes going as far as to look through recycling bins before materials are collected, to see if they were contaminated with garbage.
The proposed bylaw change is intended to deal with back lane collection, where residents leaving their bins out in the laneways at all times has caused some issues with garbage collection, snow clearing efforts and city beautification efforts.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 14, 2012