The Sort-It Western waste management program was officially launched at the Wild Cove landfill transfer station Tuesday morning.
The event included a news conference hosted by Western Regional Waste Management, which is now responsible for garbage collection in 82 western Newfoundland communities from the southwest corner of the island to White Bay South.
The transfer stations at Wild Cove and in Bay St. George will begin accepting waste under the new management program in those areas next week. That means the people living in those sub-regions have to begin sorting their garbage this week in anticipation of next week’s collection.
The system will be rolled out in the remaining areas under Western Regional Waste Management’s jurisdiction in the coming months.
Under the mandatory Sort-It Program, residents will be required to place all of their recyclables in a blue garbage bag and put all other acceptable household waste in clear bags.
There is no need to sort recyclables. Certain items, such as household hazardous waste and electronic waste, cannot be put in clear bags or recyclable bags.
Waste from these areas complying with the new system will be processed at the transfer stations and transported to a central site in Norris Arm, starting next week.
Eventually, the program will be mandatory for all of the roughly 35,000 homes in the region. It is expected to divert as much as 45,000 tonnes of material annually from open landfill sites in western Newfoundland.
The cost of the regional program is estimated to be between $40 million and $45 million.
There is no program in place yet for businesses to comply with this system.
Here is some of what was said during Tuesday’s launch of the Sort-It Western program:
• “I don’t think that this announcement is that important for any of us sitting in this room today. I think it’s important for the two kids I left behind this morning in Port aux Basques: my four-year-old and my seven-year-old. … My kids, your kids and our grandkids are going to be very appreciative of the steps we are taking today.” — Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Andrew Parsons
• “This is for the future and, for the naysayers out there and those who are grumbling, this has to happen because we can’t keep going the way we were. … Step back and look at what they are doing in other jurisdictions all over the world and what they are doing with waste management. Then look at those jurisdictions that aren’t doing anything with waste management — that’s’ certainly not the road we want to travel.” — Gudie Hutchings, Liberal MP for Long Range Mountains
• “This is a modern facility. It’s a change in the way people think. It’s a shift in the way that we will manage our waste at the curb for our children and our grandchildren. That is what this is about today. … We are becoming better custodians of our environment by diverting the amount of waste that goes into open landfill sites. We are pleased the mandatory program we are putting in place today will have longstanding impacts for future generations.” — Josh Carey, chair of the Western Regional Waste Management board of directors