Editorial: This stinks

While the bag and tag system taking effect in our area May 1 is necessary both to reduce waste and preserve space in our landfill, the Deep River guidelines fail to impress. 

Many residents are asking why we do not have a composting program. This would go a long way to maximizing the space allotted in just two garbage bags and reducing the volume of waste going to the landfill. They have a place for compost at the dump, unlike many residents who simply don’t have the space or don’t want to attract more of a bear and skunk problem in town. If the town is not open to paying for compost pick-up, perhaps they could consider offering a subsidy to residents on the purchase of an enclosed compost bin, much like the one offered for rain barrels.

Another problem is the issuance of tags. You are allowed two bags per week, but are not given tags for them. Tags are available for purchase only if you require more. This means that any weeks that you have less garbage, or are away on vacation for instance, you do not get to save those tags to be used when you have more waste, such as holidays or when you have guests. To summarize, you will be penalized for having more garbage but not rewarded if you produce less.

This system also fails to account for varying family sizes as it is done on a per household basis. A family of six is bound to produce more waste than a family of three, but the same limit is applicable to both, therefore punishing the larger families in town. One might argue that if you have many children you should expect things to cost more, and that may be a valid point. What that logic fails to consider is that larger families require larger houses and they are therefore already likely to be paying higher taxes.

The system is obviously a necessary step, and the aim of the program is a good one. As a community we need to be doing what we can to reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill. However, as with any system, it is not yet perfect. This will likely be a “learn as you go” endeavour that will see several changes over the next few years while everyone adapts.

In the interim, hopefully we can co-operate with our neighbours and make the upcoming transition a smooth one. If you have a large family or more bags, ask a neighbour who has less if you can put a bag in their bin.