The head of Surrey's waste management program said the first week of garbage, recycling and organics collection has come and gone relatively smoothly.
Rob Costanzo, deputy manager of operations with the city, said the reaction from residents has been mostly positive and the workers covered the city without many problems.
"There's been a lot of planning that's gone into this initiative," he said, noting the city serves about 100,000 households. "It wasn't without its bumps and grinds - it's a fairly significant undertaking."
He said at the start of the program, roughly 1,200 households hadn't received their carts, but that there are now only a few hundred still waiting for them to be delivered.
He also acknowledged that the city's phone lines were jammed last week with calls about the program, but said the city is smoothing over any troubles with waste collection.
"We know that there's going to be a little bit of a period until everyone is entirely onboard, but we feel that transition will happen fairly quick," he said.
Sheila Gair of Surrey said pickup in her area has been great and that the city has provided plenty of information for residents to understand the program and collection schedules.
Collection is Monday to Friday by neighbourhood, including statutory holidays, except on Christmas and New Year's Day. Organics carts are picked up weekly, while garbage and recycling carts alternate every other week.
"Apart from knocking on the door and saying, 'Sheila, please put out the blue and the green this morning,' what more could they do?" she asked.
An avid gardener, Gair praised the city for emptying both her new organics bin and her old yard waste bin last week.
Those who haven't received their new carts yet can put out their old bins for pickup. The city plans to recycle the old bins closer to November.
Mike Sills of South Surrey said his family has received two recycling carts but no garbage or organics carts, and that workers didn't empty their old cans. He said he's made numerous calls and sent emails to the city, but it's been weeks since he was told he'd receive the rest of the carts.
"I will give the people at the City of Surrey dealing with this credit, they've been quite pleasant on the phone, but we're getting nowhere," he said. "My personal opinion is they should have started delivering these things in August because they're still trying to catch up and it's almost mid-October."
He believes that because he selected custom-sized bins in May, his household got lost in the system while the rest of the neighbourhood received the default sizes.
"If I don't have them by Friday, then I'm going to call again," he said. "I don't know what else I can do, but it's very frustrating."
HOW TO SPACE YOUR CARTS
Costanzo said there have been some issues with the placement of carts at the curb, particularly how far apart they should be.
Residents are asked to space their carts by at least one metre on each side, with 10 feet of clearance above for the arm of the waste truck to easily grasp the carts. The city also asks residents not to park vehicles within five feet of their carts.
Those who don't abide by the provisions may receive notices from drivers with instructions on what to do for future pickups. If a resident repeatedly does not
comply, their cart may not be emptied.
The same penalty goes for residents who don't properly separate their waste in the three bins, said Costanzo, who noted that keeping recycling and garbage out of the organics carts is vital for processing the organic materials.
The organics cart is designated for all consumable food waste (fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meats and baked goods), food-soiled paper (coffee filters, napkins, pizza boxes) and yard trimmings.
Costanzo also acknowledged last week's incident in Whalley in which a waste truck hit some power lines, but noted the lines were hanging below the designated height. He said the lines weren't pulled down by the arm that picks up the carts. He said a similar incident with the previous waste collection program happened in the same area.
To check the collection calendar for your neighbourhood, visit surrey. ca/rethinkwaste, click Collection Schedule and type in your address.
You can also download a 23-page brochure (available in seven major languages) and a free app for iPhone and Android smartphones that provides waste collection reminders.
You can also call the waste collection hotline at 604-590-7289.
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