TRURO – A Truro town councillor has a “real problem” with a proposed switch to transparent garbage bags.
“It’s an issue that I think is too big brother,” Diane Bennett Cook said Monday following a presentation about the idea. “I think that people have a right to their privacy … I really, really have a problem with clear bags and public view of personal garbage.”
Waste reduction manager Darlene Proctor made a similar presentation to the one she gave to county council a month ago and will give to Stewiacke Town Council on Thursday.
The proposal is about diverting more items from the balefill facility in Kemptown and improving employees’ safety.
“Nobody really knows what’s in there,” Proctor said of the current black garbage bags. “Clear bags are much easier and safer” for employees who might come across a piece of glass or a needle.
Proctor's presentation also included the options of switching completely to a clear bag system, continuing to allow one dark bag per pickup, or allowing one small, kitchen catcher sized "privacy" bag per pickup to be allowed.
Waste audits conducted in 2007, Proctor said, showed that 23 to 50 per cent of residential materials found in garbage bags were either recyclable or compostable. At that time green carts were not in place throughout Colchester County.
Currently, 34 of the province’s 55 municipalities have switched to the clear bag system with the first ones (the Municipality of Cumberland County and the Town of Oxford) starting in 2001.
“Everyone has been consistent that garbage has gone down and recycling … has gone up when they went with the clear bag,” Proctor said.
She said annually there is about 600 kg per person disposed of in Colchester County. A provincial act calls for that to decrease to 300 kg per person annually by 2015.
Proctor said she was looking for an endorsement from all three municipal governments to see if there is an appetite to go forward with the clear bag program.
Town council has asked for more information and Proctor said she will provide a report to the town’s chief administrative officer in time for review for council’s April 4 meeting.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Coun. Greg MacArthur.
Coun. Charles Cox provided some light-hearted humour to the discussion.
“If you really want to know what’s in those bags there’s a couple crows on Normandy Avenue that can tell you,” he said.