GARBAGE trucks will be picking up cans from West Vancouver homes about half as frequently next April following a unanimous vote by council Monday.
Besides biweekly trash pickup, the district also moved to ban food scraps from garbage bags in a bid to increase the use of green cans, according to engineering services manager Phil Bates.
"It's a matter of getting the word out to our public that this is coming," Bates said.
Organics and blue box recycling will continue to be picked up once a week.
Council authorized spending $380,000 on the green cans last April following a successful pilot project. Bates credited the program with cutting garbage collection in June and July of this year by nine per cent. That reduction was accomplished with approximately 38 per cent participation, according to Bates.
The move to ban food scraps from garbage is also an attempt to stay one step ahead of Metro Vancouver, who will likely enact similar rules once each municipality in their jurisdiction has alternate organic pickup methods available, according to Bates.
Engineering director Raymond Fung promised the district would not resort to "draconian measures," such as opening up garbage bags and examining their contents to see if residents are obeying the bylaw.
West Vancouver residents can now put six cans of yard trimmings on the curb, including the green can.
"I would say to people they better start learning to manage their own yard waste," said Mayor Michael Smith, who said some residents line their curbs with yard trimmings.
The new pickup system is projected to boost costs by $35 per single-family unit, bringing the total cost to $275.
If the current system were maintained, the increase would be $41, according to Bates.
For multi-family units, the increase will be slightly less than $9.
The soaring price of diesel, the late repeal of the Harmonized Sales Tax, and the decline of newsprint in recycling boxes have all driven up the costs of collecting garbage and recycling, according to Bates.
Between 2009 and 2012, the price of diesel jumped from approximately 95 cents a litre to more than $1.40.
While the cost of the GST was recovered in a 100 per cent rebate, only 75 per cent of the HST cost is recovered.
Providing fewer pickups will result in higher diversion rates, according to Bates, who discussed the challenges in reaching a 70 per cent waste diversion rate by 2015.
The district diversion rate shot up between 2003 and 2009, going from 42 per cent to 57 per cent.
Eliminating garbage bound for landfills has proved difficult since then, with the diversion rate stalling at 58 per cent since 2010.
Coun. Mary-Ann Booth asked about dealing with animal waste. "There is really no legal alternative for it," Bates said, after his suggestion of pet owners dealing with the waste on their own property was rejected. "Metro Vancouver turns a blind eye to it."