Once again, Hamilton's do-little City Council seems poised to back away from leadership in addressing the city's problems.
This, Wednesday, Council will vote on a staff proposal to limit garbage collection to one bag per family in an attempt to approach the city's goal of diverting 65 percent of its municipal waste out of landfills by 2010.
Nine councillors out of fifteen have indicated that they will vote against the proposal. Some, like Lloyd Ferguson, seem opposed on principle. Others, like Sam Merulla, feel the decision is too rushed and should be delayed for a year so residents have a chance to get used to the idea.
Still others, like Tom jackson, oppose the use of an "enforcement stick," citing improvements under the current voluntary system. However, as Russ Powers notes, diversion has stagnated at 40 percent for the past two years.
Here's a crazy idea: let's look at cities that have been successful at diverting more waste than Hamilton.
The city of Markham has already reached its target of 70 percent diversion by the end of 2007, and is looking at ways to bring the rate even higher.
One of Markham's most effective methods of increasing participation has simply been to collect recycling and green bins every week but only collect garbage every other week.
Don't want your garbage to pile up? Don't throw recyclables into it. Don't want your garbage to stink? Don't throw compostables into it.
It's simple, it will probably save the city money, and it's currently working in a city of 260,000 that has already surpassed a diversion goal Hamilton has little chance of meeting if it does nothing.
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