Get with the pro­gram, Amherst

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - OPINION -

It seems noth­ing riles up Cum­ber­land County, es­pe­cially our mu­nic­i­pal politi­cians, like good old-fash­ioned trash talk. You can raise our taxes and we will raise our eye­brows, but mess with how we dis­pose of our garbage, and you have a messy de­bate on your hands.

Case in point is the Town of Amherst’s drag­ging its feet when it comes to switch­ing to clear bags for the dis­posal of all waste and re­cy­clables. Amherst is the last of the county’s five mu­nic­i­pal units to make the switch, and some coun­cil­lors still seem to have con­cerns about it.

Why switch to clear bags? The prov­ince has tar­gets to re­duce the waste go­ing into its land­fills. By 2015, it would like to reach the goal of 300 kg of waste per per­son gen­er­ated an­nu­ally. The cur­rent av­er­age is 420 kg, and Amherst sits at a whop­ping 587 kg per per­son.

Switch­ing to clear bags has re­sulted in a 20-30 per cent de­crease in waste in other Nova Sco­tian mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, at no ad­di­tional cost to the tax­payer. The Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of West Hants, for ex­am­ple, switched to clear bags about five years ago, and has since seen its waste re­duced from 400 kg per per­son to 280 kg, al­ready ex­ceed­ing the pro­vin­cial goal of 2015. That mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s waste re­duc­tion co­or­di­na­tor has cred­ited much of their suc­cess to the clear bags.

The clear bag pro­gram is the cheap­est and most ef­fec­tive way to in­crease di­ver­sion of waste from the land­fills, CJSMA solid waste man­ager Stephen Rayworth told Amherst coun­cil this week.

While the change may seem like a no-brainer, res­i­dents may have le­git­i­mate con­cerns. Some don’t want the garbage col­lec­tor or any­one else see­ing what they put in their trash. But that is why most by­laws al­low for a small, coloured ‘pri­vacy bag’ for those un­men­tion­able items.

Those with con­cerns should ask their friends in neigh­bour­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, such as the county, which has been us­ing clear bags for what must be a decade with­out any prob­lems.

Amherst needs to get on board. Any­thing less is a waste.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.