Clear Bags - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do I do with all the black/green bags I have now?
A: Use them up or trade them in when we hold a bag exchange. Although the clear bag program begins April 1, 2005, it will be into the summer before clear bags will be reinforced. This will allow people a chance to use up dark bags before starting with clear bags.
Q: Where do I get clear bags?
A: Local stores will be bringing in clear bags in both large (26" by 36") and kichen catcher size (20"x 22").
Q:Don't clear bags cost more than black bags?
A: No necessarily. Local stores have been provided information for bags that cost the same or less than dark coloured bags. Remember that name brand clear bags, just like name brand green bags, cost more than no-name or store brand bags. We have found small packs of clear bags that cost 16 cents each while store brand dark bags, on sale, cost more than 19 cents per bag.
Q: I currently use white grocery or kitchen catcher type bags for garbage. What do I do after April 1, 2005?
A: You may continue to use white bags, but they must be emptied into the larger clear bag and the empty bag can be thrown in the clear bag if soiled, other clean bags are recyclable. You may also buy small clear bags (kitchen catcher size) then throw these into the larger clear bag.
Q: Do kitchen catcher bags come in clear? If so, where?
A: Yes, small kitchen catcher bags also come in clear. Local stores will be bringing these in. If you want some now, Wal-Mart in New Minas carries both large and small clear bags at a very reasonable cost.
Q:What do I do with the white bag once I have dumped the contents into the clear bag?
A:Once a bag has been soiled, it is garbage. You may throw it into the larger clear bag.
Q: Is clothing (cloth) regular garbage?
Q: What do I do with cat litter? Ashes? Dog waste? Plastic farm wrap and twine?
A: Everything must go in clear bag or be a bundle. Local stores will be bringing in small clear bags.
Q: Can I still use blue bags for recyclables or grocery bags for recyclable papers?
A: Yes. Blue bags and grocery bag for recyclable papers will still be accepted after April 1, 2005. You may choose to buy only clear bags and use them for both garbage and recyclables.
Q:Why don't we have green bins for organics collection like other municipalities?
A: Each municipality designs their own system. All inquiries for organics collection are being passed onto a committee of council so they are aware of residents desire for carts. Staff is working on a cost effective strategy but organics collection is very costly.
Q:What is back yard compostable?
A: Fruit and vegetable, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, leaves and grass clippings are the main items. Most food waste is still regular garbage, like cooked foods, meat, dairy, bones, seafood, and shells. See the back of the garbage collection calendar for more examples.
Q: Why clear bag?
A: There are several reasons for having bags that are easy to inspect for banned materials. The province banned organics and recyclables from landfills since 1998. The landfill can be fined for accepting these banned materials. A fine for material from the muncipal collections would have to be paid with tax dollars and the fines are quite large. ($1,000 to $1,000,000). In addition, as of January 1, 2006, all landfills must be second generation design. Our landfill will be of this design and air space in this type of landfill is very expensive. We must divert everything we can from new landfill in order to control costs. We wish to hold the $40 per tonne tipping fee for our residents, while other landfills currently charge $100 or more per tonne.
Q: Why now?
A: We are ready for clear bags. The majority of our residents are recycling and composting with great success. With the landfill being a second generation site as of January 1, 2006, we must divert. Recylables and back yard compostable organics have been banned since 1998, so it is time to enforce this ban before we are fined. Finally, since we are about to begin a new 5 year contract for hauling our waste to the landfill, we must start off on the right foot.
Q:Why doesn't everyone have to use clear bags? (ie. Town of Windsor, Halifax, etc)
A: If fines for banned material are issued to the landfill, the fine would be passed to the offender. By ensuring that the Municipality of West Hants residents are not responsible for the banned material, we would not be penalized.
Q: What gives the municipality the authority to ban dark bags?
A: The Municipality of the District of West Hants Waste Collection and Disposal By-law and the Province of Nova Scotia Solid Waste Regulations under the Environment Act both provide the Municipality with the authority to control how waste is handled in West Hants.
Q: What happens if I don't follow the rules?
A: Waste and recyclables may be rejected at the curbside.
Q:What happens if someone dumps their garbage in the woods or somewhere else because they were rejected or because they don't want to follow the rules?
A:This is called illegal dumping and is a serious offence with penalties. The Municipal By-law will be enforced.
Q:What happens if I decide to burn my garbage? Or what am I allowed to burn?
A: Burning of garbage, recyclables, or organics is banned by our Fire Protection By-law, which will be enforced.