Community Stories

The talk of the block

For Tom Skeoch, 85, getting his new Green Cart last spring was exciting, and also a little daunting.

Tom lives in a duplex, with no grass in his back yard, so yard waste is not really a huge issue for him and his wife. But it didn’t take him long to get on board.

“I thought it was a good idea really, because I was throwing everything into the garbage and now so much of it is can go into the Green Cart,” Tom said.

Every week, regardless of the amount of waste he is able to divert into the Green Cart, Tom rolls it out to his back alley. Once it’s collected, it gets a quick rinse with the hose, and it’s pulled back in and ready for another week.

“I put it out every week, even if there is just a little bit,” he said. “Sometimes my neighbour, once he has filled his up, comes and puts his extras into my cart. It works great.”

With just the two of them in the home, they have still noticed a huge difference in the amount of garbage that they put out. And they are not alone. Overall, garbage collected from April until August this year decreased by 30 per cent. From May until August 2018, the total tonnage collected from Green Carts was nearly 400 tonnes more than the total amount of garbage collected.

“When the blue box program was introduced in 1991 and again when the yard waste program was introduced in 1997, it took roughly three years to build up to the tonnages that became their standard diversion rates,” said Janet Whitesell, Waste Management Superintendent. “While difficult to fully measure after only six months, initial results are very promising.”

So what’s next for waste collection in our city? Guaranteed to transform Red Deer’s recycling and garbage pickup game, the next cart experience rolls out in the spring of 2019 with Blue and Black. The Blue Cart replaces your blue box, and the Black Cart will be for all other household garbage. Blue and Black Carts will be delivered to homes who currently receive individual garbage and recycling pickup starting March 2019. Once pickup begins in May of 2019, Blue and Black Carts will be picked up every other week, on alternating weeks and Green Carts will continue to be picked up weekly.

“We hope that by allowing residents the time to get acquainted with their Green Cart this year, and see the amount of waste that can be diverted into it will give residents a sense of confidence in the every other week pickup,” said Janet. “We will also be offering a few cart size options, so residents can customize the collection system to their situation.”

As Tom pointed out, his garbage was drastically reduced, and he has no worries about the schedule thanks to use of the Green Cart.

For all the nitty gritty on how to use your Green Cart, visit www.reddeer.ca/carts, and watch for more information about the next cart experience coming soon.