Changes to the rules around waste pickup in Waterloo Region will be accompanied by a large-scale advertising and public education campaign.

Regional councillors said Tuesday that awareness programs and additional call centre staff will cost approximately $800,000.

“There’s going to be people who … will be putting their garbage out every week, and doing things pretty much the way they always have done,” said Coun. Tom Galloway.

Starting in the spring of 2017, garbage will only be picked up from residential neighbourhoods every two weeks.

Green bins, which are used for organic waste, and recycling bins will continue to be collected on a weekly basis.

Additionally, households will be limited to four bags of garbage per pickup.

Local waste management officials have said that the changes are designed to increase the amount of waste disposed of through green bins.

In turn, they say, that would mean less waste going to the landfill and a longer lifespan for the landfill.

The region’s planning and works committee voted Tuesday to award the contract for waste pickup in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge to Miller Waste Systems, starting in 2017.

Collection in the townships will be handled by Halton Recycling.

Those decisions must still be approved by regional council, which consists of the same people.

The seven-year deals with Miller and Halton are expected to save the region a total of $21 million as compared to the current pickup contract with Waste Management.

“I realized … that we would realize some savings, but I didn’t expect $3 million a year,” Coun. Sean Strickland told CTV News.

Coun. Geoff Lorentz questioned whether further savings could be found by talking to other municipalities about how they handle waste collection, noting that Waterloo Region is not the first to move to biweekly garbage pickup.

“We’re not leading the way on this one, so it’s an opportunity for us to look at what other municipalities do and try and learn from that,” he said.

“We don’t always need to reinvent the wheel.”