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How one Calgary community is overcoming black bin overload

Calgary council debated the merits of allowing citizens to pay for extra garbage pickup last week with a tag-a-bag program, but residents in one Calgary community are using social media to solve the problem

Vicki Duiven, a resident of McKenzie Towne, said when people in her community have an extra black bag that won’t fit in their bin they put the call out on one of several Facebook groups.

“I think it sort of happened accidentally,” she said. “We have a couple of really active Facebook groups, so it’s not a single page run by anybody.”

The McKenzie Towne Rants and Chats Facebook group does have quite a few people complaining about other people discovering their bin was filled by another, but some residents have done the right thing and put out a request, and according to Duiven, their requests have been answered.

She said it isn’t just black bins. During the winter months, the freeze-thaw cycle meant there were a few times when city trucks couldn’t get down the alley for recycling pickup, and Duiven said neighbors again turned to each other for space in their blue bins.

“It’s not people trying to get around the tax system,” she said. “It’s just ‘I don’t need a bigger bin every week but I need one today.’”

Coun. Joe Magliocca said during the committee meeting that residents in his communities wouldn’t pay extra for the tag-a-bag program but would instead look for the nearest bin with room.

Magliocca said using social media to find space for those extra bags is a great idea.

“I personally don’t think we should do tag a bag, but if your neighbor’s got extra space, then why not?” he said.

The tag-a-bag program likely won’t be coming to Calgary anytime soon. The council committee looking at the option asked administration to report back early next year with cost estimates on tag-a-bag as well as giving citizens the options of three cart sizes, with variable bills to match the size.