What is a Community Depot?

On March 30, 2011, in Phase 2, Speaking Up, by Justin

What is a community depot?

A community depot:

  • is a place where residents can drop off material that can be recycled or reused instead of putting it in the garbage,
  • has the potential to reduce the amount of garbage with throw out by 3%,
  • is larger than the existing recycling and yard waste depots,
  • captures toxic materials which are harmful to our environment,
  • separates materials into piles that can either be reused (e.g., furniture, bicycles) or recycled (e.g., wood waste, shingles, metal),
  • would be set up in various locations, starting with Brady Road Landfill.

A Community Depot in Hamilton, Ontario

What kinds of materials would be accepted at the community depot?

Examples include:

  • electronic waste (e.g., computers, televisions, phones)
  • household hazardous waste (e.g., paint, oil, florescent light bulbs)
  • yard waste (e.g., grass, leaves, tree trimmings)
  • construction materials (e.g., shingles, drywall, lumber, concrete)
  • bulky waste (e.g., appliances, furniture, mattresses)

Do other cities have community depots?

Yes, such as Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Dundas, Kenora, Vancouver, and Victoria.

How much does a community depot cost?

Each community depot would cost:

  • $1-2 million to build
  • $500,000 to operate each year

Do you think community depots are right for Winnipeg?

Comments for this post are now closed.

5 Responses to What is a Community Depot?

  1. Garth says:

    I see the city has now hired a private security firm, Avion Services, to watch St. James residents drop off recycling and yard waste. Why? Because since the rolling carts were forced upon the residents over a year ago, they've had NO OPTIONS for disposing of bulky items or that periodic extra bag of extra garbage that doesn't fit in the cart, so the civic center became their unofficial waste transfer station, until last week.

    How much money are those rolling carts saving us again? What's the cost to me, in time and money, and the environmental cost of making a trip to the Brady landfill to dump off an extra bag of garbage or some bulky item like an old chair or bike?

    Perhaps these Community Depots should have been in place BEFORE the rolling carts. At least it would have made the best of a bad situation, where the city spends millions replacing the free labour previously provided by private enterprise which used to pick up these bulky re-usable items. The way it stands now, we have the worst of a bad situation.

    Be prepared for your citizens to find more creative ways of disposing of bulky items. I already saw an old TV nicely placed on the gravel road by the community gardens. Before the rolling carts, I NEVER saw illegal dumping in the neighborhood, even at the civic center. Now it is common. Again, just how much money are we saving?

  2. Garth says:

    We used to most of this service for FREE. FREE to me and FREE to the city of Winnipeg.

    In St. James, before the days of rolling garbage carts, 2 guys in a old truck used to drive around the neighborhood before garbage day and pick up anything they could either fix up or sell as scrap. Old bikes, computers, TVs, furniture, lumber, renovation waste, yes even our kitchen sink (literally) found its way onto their truck.

    This was BEFORE the days of the rolling cart, because now that we aren't allowed to put those items at the curb the guys in the truck don't come around anymore (living off of welfare now?). All this material now makes its way to the dump one way or another (mostly illegally by being dumped at the civic centre, then the city loads it into a truck and dumps it at Brady, at great expense to the city).

    So the city wants to replace the 2 guys in a beatup old truck with community depots that cost $1-$2 million to build and $500,000 annually to operate, EACH! Laughable. So now I have to pack everything up in my vehicle, burn gas and produce greenhouse gases to make a trip to the depot. And what are the chances that the city workers will do as good of a job re-purposing these materials when their next meal doesn't depend on their success? Right.

    You aren't saving money and you aren't saving the environment. The city and hired consultants just never got close enough to the ground to realize how good they had it before – FREE services provided by your own citizens, now being replaced by a multi-million $ service. The downhill slide all started with those rolling garbage carts, and it keeps on rolling downhill.

    (A local place to drop off hazardous and electronic waste would however be nice, if the price was right.)

  3. Peter says:

    One additional point is that under the provincial policy of extended producer responsibility (EPR), it is the product stewards (manufacturers and distributors) who should be responsible for recycling the materials and packaging they sell. One example is Multi Material Stewardship Manitoba (responsible for packaging and paper products), which subsidizes 80% of blue box costs. The city needs to systematically identify all products and packaging ending up in the waste stream and work with the province to see that EPR principles apply and the costs of recycling (including depots) are borne by the producers rather than the taxpayers. This cost of business may be reflected in prices of consumer goods, but for competitive reasons will incent producer stewards to create efficient recycling systems. It is appropriate that the costs are borne by the producers and consumers of various goods on the market rather than subsidized from taxes. However until that happens, the city may need to invest in recycling infrastructure while also negotiating with the province and producers to shift the costs where they belong.

  4. Peter says:

    The problem with a depot at Brady only or with, say, 2 or 3 around the city is that people have to make extra trips by truck or car to recycle items and that in turn raises GHG emissions. That may be unavoidable with larger volumes of renovation waste, but something closer to home or to shopping is needed for other items.

    The city needs to collaborate with the various stewards currently setting up recycling programs under provincial regulation to establish smaller depots at many more locations – say at every major shopping centre in the city. Currently a number of retailers take back items they sell – e.g. ink cartridges at Staples and flourescent lights at Home Depot. These take-back options need to be expanded for items that can't be recycled in the blue box.

    A particular peeve of mine is that valuable metals from broken appliances, home renovation projects, etc. are not collected in the blue box while much less valuable materials, such as glass jars, are collected. Every building supply store should have a bin to collect these items. The city needs to work with stewards and retailers to make this happen.

    • SpeakUpWinnipeg says:

      The plan to set up depots at Brady Rd and potentially other locations does not exclude additional depots within the city. The goal is to implement facilities which will have the greatest impact. Facilities within the city require finding sufficient space, being convenient and accessible, and being accepted by the community. A depot at Brady would receive the existing volume of materials dropped off at the landfill directly, thus there is a huge potential for diversion.