Part of moving to a new community is learning the little things about your new surroundings. When I moved to Sooke from the Vancouver area 3 and a half years ago, I found myself putting out my garbage can on the curb whenever I saw my neighbours doing so. I’d come home from the office and to my dismay, the can was still full and sitting at the curb. I asked a neighbour what was going on and she explained that garbage pick-up is done privately in Sooke and not paid for by your property taxes or utilities like in the Metro Vancouver area.
It turns out that outside of the larger municipalities like Victoria and Saanich, garbage collection in the Capital Regional District is offered on a user-pay basis by a few different companies.
Here in Sooke, we have a couple of choices. Locally-owned and operated Sooke Disposal (250-642-3646) or Alpine Disposal. Both have competitive rates and offer several different options for pick-up. I have opted for Alpine; they pick up one can per week, and it costs me about $50 every three months. Rates vary more or less depending on how much trash you dispose of and how often you’d like it collected.
At first I thought this was a strange arrangement, but as I got to thinking of it more, it makes great sense both economically and environmentally. By paying for the amount of garbage you dispose directly as opposed to a flat rate through your taxes, you are rewarded for reducing the amount of trash you throw out. Because it’s just the two of us here, and we recycle and compost, we don’t have to subsidize large families or wasteful individuals who throw out a lot. One neighbour has managed to get her trash (for a family of four!) down to one average sized can every two weeks, so she saves even more. And, by having several different companies offering their services, homeowners are ensured that rates will be competitive.
The Capital Regional District handles the Blue Box/Bag recycling program through your tax dollars. Pick-up in Sooke is every second Monday, including holidays. Newcomers to Sooke can get their bin and bag for a small fee at Sooke Harbour Motors, right next to my office just past the lights at Otter Point and Sooke Roads. The recycling program is great, in that they take most everything, and you don’t need to rinse cans and bottles or remove labels. About the only thing they don’t take is milk cartons. A recent Times Colonist article mentioned the fact that collectors have been instructed not to pick up oversized containers, so make sure your bin complies with the CRD guidelines. More information about the CRD recycling program.
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