April 30th last opaque pick-up
AMHERST â The black garbage bagâs days are numbered â in Amherst, at least.
April 30 will be the last day opaque bags will be picked up. Starting in May, bags must be clear.
âThe province has a mandated goal of 300 kilogramsâŠ,â said Jason MacDonald, director of planning and development for the town. He was referring to a Nova Scotia plan for reducing waste diverted to land fills. The goal is 300 kg per person per year.
Weâve got a way to go. MacDonald said the town average is over 500 kg. Statistics from other municipalities in the province indicate clear bags lead to a 30-per cent drop in solid waste, according to the director.
âLiterally, all weâve changed is the colour of the bag,â said MacDonald. Residences will still have a six-bag maximum, but the bags must be clear. A small privacy bag is permitted for each of the six larger bags.
âItâs in legislation,â said the director. The town must comply with the provincial directive or face consequences â although the government in Halifax hasnât told Amherst what the punishment would be, despite a request for clarification. One clear penalty, though, is that a fine can be levied if compost is put into landfill.
Terry Rhindress, who sits on town council, said the province could deny capital grants for the dump, too, if the community didnât comply.
Rhindress isnât the policyâs biggest cheerleader, but seems to be grudgingly behind it. His first choice would have been an incinerator instead of burial.
âI think we could have burned a lot of it,â said Rhindress. As for six clear bags, thatâs one clear bag too many. He wanted each residence to be allowed a single opaque bag and five clear.
He acknowledged the message that reducing landfill waste saves money. Dumps that are filled up quickly are dumps that need to be replaced at public expense.
âIf we donât (reduce), thereâll be no dumpsâŠnot enough room.â
One sticking point that remains for Rhindress, though, is his belief thereâs a double-standard: that residences are required to meet a more strict standard than restaurants. The latter are taking steps, but itâs taking a bit longer, according to Rhindress.
âTheyâre coming,â he said.