3. Transitioning Policies Over Time
For municipalities interested in introducing a user pay (Pay-As-You-Throw – PAYT) policy, a gradual lowering of the bag limits over several years, coupled with the ability to set out more material by purchasing tags, can help residents make incremental adjustments to their waste generation and disposal activities without feeling unduly burdened. This approach has been used in numerous communities including the City of Peterborough, Ottawa, Hamilton, London, Richmond Hill, Barrie, Halton Region, Niagara Region and Simcoe County. A limit reduction every couple of years until a municipality reaches diversion goals may help residents accept the transition to a full/partial user pay program as the next logical step in waste diversion/reduction policy.
City of Hamilton
In 2007, the City imposed a mandatory 3 bag/container limit and over time has gradually reduced the limit from 3 to 2 and finally a 1 bag limit in 2010.
From March 2008 – March 2009, the City encouraged households to reduce their set out to 2 bags/containers. After March 2009, the City reduced the number of bags/containers to 1 plus 1 clear waste bag (provided that the clear bag did not contain acceptable Blue Box and/or Green Cart material) per household/wk. In 2010, the City introduced the 1 bag limit for weekly waste collection.
Bags must be tagged and the City does not permit additional tags to be purchased; however, after problems encountered with illegal dumping and public backlash, the City started to distribute 12 free tags in their annual Waste Calendar. Special cases (e.g. medical and families with infants) can receive an additional 14 tags after filling out an application form. Other householders can also request additional tags by completing an application form and will receive 14 additional tags above the 12 distributed (only 4% of households request the additional tags). Exemptions must be renewed each year.