Surrey residents who are waiting for smaller trash carts to arrive should simply use the bigger ones they were issued until replacements arrive, a city spokesperson said this week.
Rob Costanzo, Surrey’s deputy operations manager in the engineering department, said Monday that the city will take back the bigger carts even if they’ve been used.
“We simply sanitize the (used) cart,” Costanzo said.
The issue was raised this week by South Surrey resident Al Ironside, who was storing his trash in his garage while he waited for the 120-litre waste carts he requested in September, before the new bins were distributed.
Despite his request, Ironside said he was issued the much larger 240-litre waste carts intended for single family houses.
The 85-year-old Ironside, a recent widower who lives alone, said he simply doesn’t generate enough trash to justify the bigger carts.
Ironside said when he phoned the city, he was told to leave the bigger carts outside to make their retrieval and replacement easier, and it wasn’t clear if he should keep them empty or use them for trash.
After four weeks of waiting for the bigger carts to arrive, Ironside had accumulated a few small plastic bags of garbage in one corner of his garage next to some neatly stacked newspapers and metal recyclables.
His collected kitchen waste amounted to a half-filled lunchbag-sized paper bag.
After Peace Arch News contacted the city Monday about his concerns, Ironside said he was reached by phone later that day and by Tuesday morning, the smaller bins had arrived.
“I’ve got the whole works now,” he said.
Ironside stressed he is a supporter of the new waste-collection system, which aims to reduce the amount of recyclables buried in landfills by separating out organic kitchen and yard waste.
“I think it’s a good idea myself,” Ironside said.
The city estimates less than 10 per cent of Surrey residents have requested a switch to different-sized waste carts.
The carts come in five sizes; 80, 120, 180, 240 and 360 litres.
Residents like Ironside, who were asking for the 120-litre size, faced an additional wait, because the supplier had run out of that specific size and more had to be manufactured to meet the demand.
A new production run of the 120s was expected to begin arriving this week.
More information about the new pickup system is available at the city’s website, www.surrey.ca/rethinkwaste or by calling the waste collection hotline at 604-590-7289.