Garbage bag limit reduction will be recommended: South Glengarry Infrastructure GM

South Glengarry Infrastructure General Manager Ewen MacDonald. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

LANCASTER – South Glengarry’s infrastructure general manager says the municipality is in a position where there really is no choice but to reduce garbage bag limits.

Speaking with the township’s environment committee Friday morning (Dec. 11), Ewen MacDonald says his recommendations will come after results of the garbage composition study are known, which the committee hopes to have by late January.

In November, South Glengarry council asked MacDonald to prepare a report but there had been no timeline for the completion of that report.

“From my position as infrastructure manager and knowing that we are filling up our landfill sites quicker than we anticipated, I really don’t think administratively we can make any recommendation to council other than they consider reducing the bag limits whether that be over a period of time or take the leap and go right to two bags. I’m very much supportive of that so that would likely be my recommendation,” MacDonald said.

“This is supported by our waste recycling strategy that we did in 2012. It’s one of the few measures that was not implemented at the time and I think we’re the only municipality in SD&G and now the City of Cornwall that doesn’t have a two bag limit,” he said.

MacDonald says reducing the amount of garbage South Glengarrians can put out “does come with some concerns and there is political pushback and there is always a lot of discussion.”

South Glengarry currently allows eight bags a week.

Worries about illegal dumping

One concern is reducing the bag limit might lead to illegal dumping.

Committee member Angie Parker says she spoke with a City of Cornwall official in the environmental division whether there was more illegal dumping after moving toward two bags (it’s moved from unlimited to four bags now and will be two in April 2021). She says the official said there were “more complaints about it,” likely because residents are looking for it given the focus on bag limits, but there was no more volume of waste dumped illegally.

MacDonald added that with any recommendation on reducing bag limits, there needs to be a discussion on changing recycling which is currently collected every other week.

Also up for debate, is the single leaf and yard waste week that cost $12,000 and the “uptake was fairly minimal,” as well as bulky item pickup that costs the municipality $35,000 but they only get “six months worth of waste to our landfill” because scavengers take anything of value. “I’m not a big fan of it myself, quite honestly. It’s a huge expense,” MacDonald remarked.

South Glengarry has an agreement deal with the City of Cornwall to dispose of hazardous waste items at any time.