- Hub staff

Staff voted today on a capital expenditure of $35,000 to purchase the "Glutton", a suction litter collection device considered more efficient than a manual picker.

Three councillors voted to remove this item from the 2020 capital budget, some for the reasons in a letter from the Owen Sound Waste Watchers quoted below, but the item was kept in the budget.

The Glutton is a quiet rechargeable, battery powered device with a ten-year life span, described as having a "standard waste receptacle that can be efficiently removed and emptied into a dumpster". Staff reported that it would be impractical to separate compostables (leaves, weeds) and recyclables like cigarette butts from coffee cups and other litter.

The Owen Sound Waste Watchers wrote the following to Owen Sound Council:

“We ask that you do not approve the purchase of this piece of equipment for the following reasons:

1. It sends the message that a tidy environment is the priority, rather than the appropriate disposal of litter collected.

2. This is contrary to what citizens are being asked to do each day: carefully sort garbage and recycle waste products to improve recycling effectiveness and reduce landfill needs.

3. The $35,000 might be better spent on other investments such as more garbage bins, recycling units and cigarette waste collection receptacles OR perhaps making a capital contribution towards a joint venture with other nearby municipalities for residential composting services.

Today, more and more citizens are asking their local government to respond to their concerns about climate change, waste disposal and shrinking space for landfill.

Please consider whether approving the purchase of the Glutton is an appropriate response to these concerns and the best use of Owen Sound taxpayer money, especially in light of Council’s recent decision to request staff create a report on how Owen Sound can reduce emissions to meet the UN Emissions Targets.”

After the vote, the Waste Watchers offered this commitment: "Owen Sound Waste Watchers will continue to encourage our municipal leaders to join with local businesses and residents in finding ways to reduce current levels of garbage being collected in our community."