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LETTER: Residents who don't compost should pay more taxes

Indirect penalties are not the way to go, says letter writer of proposed new policy the County of Simcoe will consider at its meeting next week
A garbage truck uses a mechanical arm to collects waste, compost and recyclables in Simcoe County.

OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected] or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter concerns an upcoming county council vote on trash diversion pickup. 

County councillors will vote on May 28 on changes to household garbage pickup. The policy changes will effect many, if not most, people residing in all townships surrounding Orillia. The basic proposal is: if you do not place out a “green” bin when you put out the “black” bin, the county will not pickup the “black” i.e. regular garbage. 

The background to the proposed policy is that the diversion rate of organic material which should go in the green bin has not improved in spite of many years of advertising and promotion. Furthermore, the current diversion rate is too low. The result is that a large quantity of organic material goes to the landfills where it uses up limited space and contributes to methane production, both undesirable results. 

The proposed policy hopes to increase organic diversion by an indirect penalty. It is workable and likely will increase organic diversion. However, it raises several issues from discouraging backyard composting to how to deal with people who put out essentially empty green bins.

I suggest a direct approach would be more cost effective. As a better plan, I recommend the county check the contents of the black bins on properties that never place out a green bin. (The garbage truck driver can generate a list of such properties). Then, if the county finds an unreasonable amount of organic material in the black bin, the owner be warned not to do it. If the organic content is still unreasonable high on a second examination of the black bin four weeks later, the land owner be assessed a charge of $500 per year in the property taxes on the grounds that the owner is wasting landfill capacity.

I suggest that the voters in the townships look at this issue and let their two county councillors know before May 28 what they wish council to do about the organic diversion issue.

Konrad Brenner