Organics collection program no longer an option for Greater Napanee

During its presentation to council on Oct. 26, the waste diversion committee reported that an organic bin collection had been considered in 2019 when the waste collection contract was tendered, but not implemented due to costs. It was also suggested that organics collection is still an option and recommended a possible start date in 2026. Unfortunately, given the town’s special tax levy on garbage, such a program would be a waste of taxpayer’s money.  

 Contrary to popular belief, bag tags are neither a revenue generating tax or user free. They are a behaviour tax. As such, they have been designed to get people to change the way they do things. In this case, reduce the amount of garbage they produce. This is done by putting a price on garbage and providing an incentive to make a change. The less garbage they produce the less they have to pay. This concept of saving move by reducing more is the foundation of the current three R strategy. 

 The implementation of the town’s special tax levy on garbage in 2023, has turned the price of bag tags from a behaviour tax into a stand-alone user pay revenue stream. In the process, it has eliminated major incentives for reducing garbage.  

 An organics collection strategy can account for up to a 40 per cent reduction in the total garbage home owners put out each week. However, like other recyclables it is a second step in the reduction process and is based on the idea that people will want to reduce more garbage to save more money. The special tax levy does not allow that to happen. For example, if someone was putting out 30 to 40 bags of garbage a year but is now taxed for 50 bag tags, why would they be inclined to separate their garbage even more to reduce their total down to 15 or 20 bags? 

 Until the special tax levy has been removed or significantly restructured to separate it from the bag tag incentive program, it would be a waste of money for the town to move forward on any type of organics collection strategy. The fact that the town is now talking about bringing in such a program would suggest they do not fully understand the implications of their own tax. 

 Tony Balasevicius 

Greater Napanee

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