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Data doesn’t support weekly garbage pickup to Oct. 31, city says

To help property owners with excess leaves and clippings, city council approved a motion to schedule free landfill disposal on Nov. 6 and 7.
city of moose jaw garbage and recycling bins winter
A garbage and a recycling bin.

Residents who want weekly garbage collection to continue until the end of October are out of luck since city hall says the data does not support extending the collection deadline.

After the change to bi-weekly waste pickup in 2017, residents regularly expressed concerns that weekly waste collection should continue until Oct. 31 — instead of stopping on Oct. 1 — to help property owners dispose of excess leaves and garden refuse, city manager Jim Puffalt said during the Oct. 12 regular council meeting. 

“Data does not support that weekly collection is required, and two additional disposals during the month of October would not resolve the issue for those properties with many trees,” he continued.   

The historical data shows that tonnage collected in October is 65 per cent of that collected in June and July, while bi-weekly collection was moved to Oct. 1 to accommodate the decline in lawn clippings, Puffalt pointed out. 

According to the data, in May, the average kilograms per household collected for garbage was 63. That number jumps to 88.5 kgs in June, 78.5 kgs in July, 66.3 kgs in August, 43.6 kgs in September and 56.1 kgs in October. 

For customers who still have excess yard waste in October, they can request an extra, temporary disposal receptacle for $110, Puffalt said. Meanwhile, city hall can waive the pickup and delivery fee for property owners with excess leaves and garden refuse if they collect and return the receptacle. 

City hall estimates that the additional cost to complete weekly waste collection in October is $11,000. This means an extra two weeks of collection would cost $22,000.

Based on Puffalt’s report, council unanimously approved four motions for waste collection. These included:

  • Scheduling an extra weekend for free yard waste disposal at the landfill for leaves and garden refuse on Saturday, Nov. 6 and Sunday, Nov. 7 
  • Scheduling two weekends for free yard waste disposal at the landfill in the future
  • Referring bi-weekly waste collection to the 2022 budget deliberations 
  • Waiving the pick-up and delivery fee for additional waste receptacles if customers agree to pick up and return the container

Council discussion

“We had an absolutely beautiful fall … ,” said Coun. Crystal Froese. “I don’t see any reason why we can’t allocate $11,000 to extend us into October to help people out, alongside offering an additional weekend this month.” 

Acting Mayor Dawn Luhning agreed that Oct. 1 was too early to stop weekly garbage collection. She knows that many mature trees in the avenues don’t lose their leaves until later in the month. She thought the last weekend in October was when weekly pickup should cease.

It’s understandable why adding two extra weeks of garbage pickup is impossible since there is a schedule and rotation in place, said Coun. Heather Eby. If the issue of more pickups in October is raised during the 2022 budget deliberations, she would support such a move. 

Meanwhile, some residents who live in the avenues do not have green bins and still pay for garbage collection, she added. She understood that some alleys are too narrow for collection but wondered if city administration could review the situation. 

City hall has discussed this issue, while there is currently a smaller garbage truck that goes down those alleys, said city manager Jim Puffalt. Meanwhile, those residents are eligible for three extra bags per week for bi-weekly pickup. They can request additional service by calling the public works department at 306-694-4450. 

The next regular council meeting is Monday, Oct. 25.