Beaconsfield residents speak out about the new garbage system

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By Rhonda Massad

The city of Beaconsfield implemented the first pay as you throw system this January and has shown a remarkable reduction in waste heading to landfill.  Residents have one pick up per month included in their tax bill while any additional garbage pick up are charged per use.  Numbers showed a reduction of 126 tonnes of garbage over January of last year.  Residents are finding it challenging to deal with any excess garbage they have when their bins are full as the city does not offer any options for extra garbage.

Councillor Karen Messier cannot say how the residents managed it but gives them the credit.

“I think that residents may well have been throwing items in the garbage bin when they actually belonged in the recycle bin. Before this new system started, residents were permitted to put garbage at the side of the bin (no longer permitted). Residents are holding on to bulky items waiting for the first collection in April. I have had two residents proudly tell me they have put their new bin out to the curb for the first time last week since the start of the program.”

Not all residents and business owners feel the way Messier does.  Mackenzie Manitt is in a unique position in that she is a resident and a business owner.

“We have had people dumping their waste in our commercial bins,” Manitt owner of Miss Manitts Bakery in Beaurepaire village says, “but I really can’t blame them as I have to bring my extra garbage to the bakery to dispose of as I have no garage to store my extra garbage in. If I leave it outside the rodents tear it apart.  I entertain a lot and have kitty litter to contend with so I took the largest bin available and have to deal with the extra myself.  If you have to hang onto garbage in your garage, does that not indicate there is a problem with garbage collection?”

Messier insists there has been little to no complaints about people having to find places for their garbage and should residents wish to contact her with issues she is open to it.  Messier also wondered why it was an issue for residents to hold onto your extra garbage for a week or so. 

“There should be no need to bring garbage elsewhere,” Messier said. “I’m sure you understand that dumping garbage in commercial bins is simply dishonest. I am aware of only one case to date, of someone dumping bags at a city garbage bin, I have not had one single complaint yet, about people using their neighbour’s bin.”

Real estate agent Linda Sestock had not changed her habits when it comes to garbage since last year at this time but wishes the city was more active in teaching citizens how to reduce.

“It really hasn’t changed much for us, we have not reduced our garbage,” Sestock explained. “My only issue is for the first time this week we had someone dump their garbage in our bin. I compost a bit more and still put out garbage every week. We all want to do our bit. If the city expects us to reduce our garbage, they need to do a better job of showing us how.”

Ashley Davies resident and new mother fears the problem with managing garbage on your own and not offered a way to dispose of extra garbage at any time will bring problems in the summer months.

“We have stored the extra garbage on the side of our house if we have had too much because it’s cold and doesn’t smell,”  Davies said, “I am dreading the summer because we already have the raccoons dumping out our garbage each and every week, now imagine once it is even more smelly and full.  We just got our municipal taxes and we pay so much in taxes, more than any other city, and it’s sad that we have the least amount of services.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. I would like to ask Mackenzie, Linda and Ashley are they recycling? Perhaps items that should be going in the blue recycling bin are actually going in their garbage?
    There is a group home in our neighbourhood that houses 9 handicapped adults all wearing diapers, and they have no problem, putting their garbage out once a week. I also have neighbours with 3 children that entertain their extended family on a regular basis, and they are managing to put their mid- size garbage container out every 2 weeks.
    Personally in my household, there are 2 adults, 2 dogs and a cat. I fill three quarters of a large blue bin each week, 4 under the sink compost containers into the compost, and therefore only have needed to put a mid-size garbage bin out once since the new system commenced. I am really perplexed, as to why these 3 households would be having these issues?

    • Hi Jane!
      I do recycle, I put out my recycling bin FULL every week with extra inside the house for the week after. it have always been extremely cautious of recycling – something my high school put a lot of emphasis on teaching the students about. We entertain people almost every night, not just one or two people, more like 4-5. As my fiancé and I are still in our 20s and have our own home, all of our friends come over as opposed to having people at their house, as they still live with their parents. I also compost, however there is a lot of food that you cannot compost in a home composted and need a commercial composer.

  2. Yes our recycling is filled each and every week! We recycle everything yay we possibly can. Like mentioned in the article the summer months are the biggest concern. Last year we were away and missed one l week and had maggots in our garbage. My husband had to bleach our bin to get rid of them, and the stench of was something else. We have also had racoons in our bin on numerous occasions, sometime they can’t even get out once they get in. Once every two weeks would be one issue, but once a month…. Let’s call a spade a spade, this is a money grab!

  3. Ms Marcuse, perhaps people are putting garbage into recycling which is why the garbage collection is sufficient for them. I agree with Ms Davies – money grab. In my case, I took the large bin, in part so the raccoons shouldn’t get in and in part so I don’t have to put it out every week. It will certainly not be kept in the garage in the summer however. My beef is with the lack of bulky item pickup from October to April and having to bring my Christmas tree to a park. I have no vehicle large enough and would have to pay someone to do this for me…. after 23 years of paying taxes to Beaconsfield the removal of certain services combined with tax hikes is unacceptable.

  4. One of my neighbours called me last week, quite irate about an announcement on CJAD stating that Beaconsfield had reduced its garbage output by a huge percentage due to the new garbage program. He maintains that output has not necessarily changed, only the frequency with which residents are putting out their bins, and I agree. He also said no mention was made regarding punitive costs incurred for more than 12 pickups annually.

    As he and others of my acquaintance see it, the amount of garbage has not necessarily been reduced; rather the number of pickups has, presumably because most residents don’t want to pay more than we already did (through our garbage tax) for the former weekly pickups – a form of “double tax”, as some have remarked. The “choice” residents are given that Beaconsfield council proudly refers to, is to “choose” to pay more for a service we once had.

    Thus people are filling their bins up and putting them out less frequently than formerly – i.e., partially full on a weekly basis before the new regimen; now completely full bins every two or more weeks. The actual amount of garbage remains the same. Meanwhile, the garbage trucks are still making their rounds each week so there is no money being saved on gas, salaries, and mechanical maintenance, not to mention any reduction of emissions pollution.

    Many of my fellow Beaonsfielders tell me animals are getting into the new garbage bins that are of more fragile construction the old green garbage or blue recycling containers. The animals certainly shouldn’t be persecuted or exterminated for trying to find accessible food sources; it’s hard to earn your living whether you are a human or an animal. Proximity to nature, including our furred and feathered co-residents, is one of the reasons many of us moved to the West Island.

    Fuller bins and fewer pickups may work to a certain extent in the winter; however, as temperatures rise this will be a different matter. I seem to remember a headline about unpleasant odors in Pointe-Claire last summer when the garbage pickups were reduced to every two weeks. Things should be even more odoriferous in Beaconsfield in a few months if bins are put out even less frequently.

    Apparently one of the commentators on the radio remarked that it was impossible to lower the amount of garbage by such a large % and went on to speculate that people were dumping their garbage in other municipalities.

    While not big consumers, we are dedicated ‘recyclers’ in our family, and have been since the inception of the program. We have not changed our garbage habits, nor will we; we already recycle anything we can. We resent being charged for additional garbage pickups, especially as the garbage trucks are passing by each week. We are concerned about the reduction of garbage pickups, particularly in warmer weather when garbage odors and hygiene issues will become more evident.

    If a municipality were really into reducing garbage, the council might wish to look at the brown bin program in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

    Kate

    • Kate, I completely agree with you!! I rarely put out my garbage every week prior to this new implementation, sometimes I did, depending what was going on at my house that week. But most of the time, it was once every 2 weeks or so. Now with the pick up, my garbage is full quicker because I am not throwing out one or two bags a week. When I have no room in my bin, I have no garage at home so to keep from having the animals from dragging garbage around my lawn, the bags are sitting in my kitchen or I need to bring them to work to dispose of them, but that is not always an option as my bin at work fills up quickly. I have cats so I put the litter in the bin at home first, however the rest of the garbage is stuck inside my house until I have room at work or I put the bin out once a month. It’s a never ending cycle. Once I put it out, I re-fill my bin with what was in the house, magically my bin is full again within a week or 2 and the bags start to collect in my kitchen all over again. Not pleasant to have when guests come over. i do believe the city would have benefited better with the brown bin collection.

  5. As I understand it, the residents of Beaconsfield with the help of the City, have substantially reduced what is going into landfill because of the Bulk Item pick-ups and Green Waste pick-ups, not because of weekly household garbage at this juncture. In the past we would put lawn clippings, leaves, branches, even Christmas tress into the weekly garbage, but now all that is being composted by the city. Also in would go the broken microwave and old lawn chair, which now is being up-cycled, because of the Bulk Item pick-ups. I think perhaps the reason there is no Bulk Item pick- ups during the winter months would be; it may be hazardous to the snow plows having to dodge someone’s fridge and also difficult to climb over the snow bank to retrieve it.
    As far as the new system being a money grab, even if you put your garbage bin out every week, at the end of the year the most it will cost you is between 20 to 40 dollars more than what you were previously taxed. In the past the garbage tax was spread equally between all residents, the new system is based on throw out less, pay less . Beaconsfield’s new system has worked very well in Oakville, Ontario ( among numerous other cities) and eventually has contributed to less weekly garbage going into landfill.

  6. Another problem that the city is having with garbage is that for the past year once or twice a month they would skip the whole complex in Beaurepaire where my business is located. I assumed that would stop once the new system would come into place. However, on the 18th of February, they never came to pick it up. I called them Friday to remind them and this morning when I came in, the garbage had still not been collected.

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