Residents in Greater Sudbury are receiving garbage bag tags in a mass mailout that started last week, and many are confused about the purpose of the tags.
City spokesperson Kelli Sheppard said the mailout is part of preparations for the Oct. 1 switch that will limit residents to throwing out one bag of garbage a week.
To ease the changeover, every household is receiving bag tags.
“We're providing 10 bag tags in every envelope and those tags are used for occasions when you have more than your allotted bags of garbage,” Sheppard said.
“So for now, it's two bags and as of Oct. 1, it's one bag. So if you have more than that, you can attach those tags to the top of the garbage bag and we will pick them up.”
The tags only have to be attached to garbage bags when you exceed the limit – two bags a week now, and one bag after Oct. 1.
The move follows a reduction in 2016 from three bags to two per week, and is part of a longer-term plan that will see more changes in 2021, when curbside garbage collection will take place every two weeks, with a two-bag limit. As in 2016, residents who want to discard more than one bag can purchase tags once the free ones run out.
It's all part of a plan to extend the life of the city's landfill by encouraging residents to divert more waste to the municipal recycling and composting programs, which will remain unlimited. Replacing the landfill in Sudbury is estimated to cost as much as $40 million – or $100 million for all three landfills in the city.
Special arrangements are being made for people in special circumstances, such as young families with a lot of diapers.
“We offer special support programs for families that have children in diapers, or who have special medical circumstances, and we'll be introducing a new program in a few weeks for pet owners for pet waste,” Sheppard said.
Once Oct. 1 rolls around, residents who need more bag tags can buy them for $10 for five tags. There's no limit to the number of bags you can throw out if they have tags on them.
They are available at city libraries, customer service centres and at Tom Davies Square, as well as some retailers. Longer-term, you'll be able to buy them online. There's lot of information available on the changes at the city's website.
For now, Sheppard is reminding people to be sure not to discard the tags because they may confuse them with junk mail.
“We're asking people to pay attention, because the logo is on the envelope, but there's no address on it,” she said. “It comes with a flyer with all the information they're going to need about the one-bag limit.”
If you haven't received your tags in the mail by the end of this week, call 311.