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Winnipeg looking at fining residents for putting contaminated items in trash


The City of Winnipeg is asking the public if homeowners should have to pay for throwing contaminated items in their trash and recycling carts.

Winnipeg is looking for feedback on options that may motivate people to divert and recycle more materials, and one of the ideas involves enforcement.

Homeowner Karen Huyghbaert said she's careful about what goes where with her garbage and recycling.

"I rinse out my recycling before it goes in the bin and I'm equally as careful with garbage,” she said.

However, not everyone is as careful and the city wants to divert more waste from the landfill.

Now, it has recommendations on how homeowners could be convinced to reduce waste and it wants the public to weigh in.

"In the recycling cart up to 26 per cent of that recycling is actually garbage material,” said Richard Bolton, the solid waste services planner for the City of Winnipeg

The city says it could monitor what people are throwing away by inspecting carts and residents would be notified if any unacceptable items are found and for those repeatedly putting contaminated trash or recycling in their bins there could be fines or education.

"You got to continue to educate people on it but maybe there is an appetite among residents to try to ramp up some of the enforcement to try to make sure we're not contaminating our recycling streams,” Bolton said.

However, the notion of fines and inspections could already be heading to the trash can.

"I think that idea is dead on arrival. I mean I don’t think there's any support for that,” said Coun. Brian Mayes.

Mayes, who oversees the water and waste committee at city hall, calls the idea ridiculous.

He questions how the city could keep an eye on the thousands of garbage and recycling carts across the city says anyone could throw anything in anyone else’s cart.

“We don’t have bins that lock and we have trouble enforcing our current bylaws so I'm not sure why we would want to start going into the politics of recycling bins business,” Mayes said.

Huyghbaert says the enforcement route could work.

“It is realistic because you could do spot checks, you know, like at random…You know what it’s not everybody that follows the rules,” she said.

People can look at the proposed recommendations and provide feedback at one of two open houses on June 13 and June 20.

An online survey is also available until June 27.

Following that, a report will be brought to city council for consideration. Top Stories

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