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Thursday , 5 August 2021

Committee to make recommendations on grass clipping collection in St. Paul

The Town of St. Paul’s waste advisory committee will be discussing the collection of grass clippings and coming back to council with a recommendation after a discussion at the regular council meeting April 12.

According to Director of Public Works Steven Jeffery, the town’s current program needs to be reexamined because of the roll out of the new waste carts. Under the current system, seniors and residents with mobility challenges are able to purchase stickers for $1 and leave their grass clippings in transparent bags for the garbage truck to collect. The new waste carts will be lifted and emptied in to the truck by the arm on the truck, not a staff member.

In a brief interview after the meeting, Jeffery said they sold a total of 291 stickers through the program in 2020. He said it worked out to roughly 60 households in the Town of St. Paul who were having their grass clippings collected.

Jeffery’s recommendation was to transition to having grass clippings put in compostable bags and have the town’s summer students collect them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and take them to the transfer station.

“This would be going in the front of home so obviously it would be easier to see the addresses,” Jeffery said “And with the compostable bags, the clippings can be taken to our transfer station and left in the yard waste section without having to cut open bags.”

Mayor Maureen Miller said setting the precedent of having the grass clippings collected in the new waste carts does not serve the purpose of the town’s end game. Long term, the town wants to reduce the amount of waste being collected and divert as much as possible to recycling and composting.

Coun. Taylor noted because of the state of flux surrounding waste collection in St. Paul with the new waste carts being rolled out any changes to the collection of grass clippings should be done on a trial basis for the year.

He also wanted to know if the intention was to have residents place the clippings in a compostable bag or a biodegradable bag because there is a significant difference between the two.

“Compostable are certified to break down within 90 days of they’re actually usually made with a plant based product and they come with that label with the sticker with the, this is certified very good. The biodegradable is still a plastic and it’s just a plastic that’s designed to break down quickly, but it does not compost. It does not benefit the environment at all. In fact, it hurts the environment even more because it just quickly breaks down and then it gets in to the water,” said Taylor.

Coun. Brad Eamon made a motion to refer the discussion to the waste advisory committee for recommendations. The motion carried.

The next meeting of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Waste and Recycling is April 20.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.