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Aurora garbage bag issue won't 'clear' up until 2015

May 29, 2014
By Brea Bartholet

It looks as though the garbage you haul out to the curb each week will remain private for at least another year.

Aurora council postponed staff’s request to implement a mandatory clear bag program until January, proposing the launch for June 2015.

As a way to stop residents from throwing recyclables into trash headed for landfill, staff was directed to begin a public awareness campaign.

“I’m glad we’re seeing this come back,” said Councillor Michael Thompson during Tuesday night’s meeting.

“I don’t think there’s been enough information given to residents, and ourselves for that matter, about this program just yet. We need to learn a little bit more before we implement this.”

Thompson was one of several councillors who wanted to postpone the program due to the lack of information provided in recent months.

Council discussed the idea of clear garbage bags last December after a dismal audit was completed that revealed refuse such as grass clippings, electronics and recyclable items were being thrown into standard green bags — items that should be sorted and diverted away from landfill sites and either composted, recycled, reused or repurposed.

Dave Douglas of VisionQuest Environmental was hired to complete the feasibility study, presented to council Jan. 21.

His presentation outlined five thing the town had to do before a clear bag program could be rolled out to citizens, including making the bags readily available at area retailers, passing a clear bag bylaw to enforce the change and properly notifying residents and businesses. The town also needs to consider privacy issues and a forecasted demand for blue boxes and green bins.

During a Feb. 25 meeting, council agreed not enough information regarding the benefits of the program to the town and residents was being provided and got cold feet about implementing such a change.

Councillor Paul Pirri raised a number of questions involving garbage privacy for residents and how — or even if — use of clear bags would be enforced to ensure items were properly being separated.

Though the process has been delayed, Mayor Geoff Dawe expressed support for the program.

“I think this is the way to go to start making our community a more environmentally friendly place to live. I appreciate council’s indulgence of the matter,” he said.