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ORGANIC WASTE – Waste collection pilot seeing high uptake, City says

(Image: Ben Kerckx, Pixabay.com)

Three months into the Curbside Organic Waste Collection Pilot Program, City staff are pleased with the program’s progress, according to a news release Tuesday (Dec. 7, 2021).

Tracking data shows that a majority of residents on the pilot routes are participating in the program. Across the five pilot routes, 64 per cent of households are setting out their organics carts each week, which is contributing to a significant reduction in garbage headed to the landfill.

An average of 2,300 kg of organic waste was collected daily from Sept. 20 to Dec. 3, totalling 120,500 kg of organic waste diverted from the landfill to date, the news release said.

“We’ve had staff out monitoring, tracking, and documenting all three streams of waste — organics, garbage, and recycling. The participation rates and the amount of organics collected so far is very encouraging, and as a result, that waste is being diverted from the garbage stream,” said Marcia Dick, the City’s solid waste reduction coordinator.

“Through comparison of garbage weights over last year on our pilot routes, garbage weights are down 41 per cent on average,” added Dick, who presented a summary of the program to-date at the Dec. 6 civic operations committee meeting.

The Curbside Organic Waste Collection Pilot Program is in Phase 2 of a multi-year program that aims to reduce the amount of garbage sent to landfill and greenhouse gas emissions.

Phase 1 included a feasibility study and waste audit that examined benefits of such a program, and Phase 3 expands on the pilot program to include 27,000 residential homes following completion of the pilot.

The City has just received a $1.78 million grant from the Province’s Clean B.C. Organic Infrastructure and Collection Program to support the expanded community-wide residential organics collection starting in late 2023.

Pilot Survey Highlights

The City is gathering feedback from residents on pilot routes to learn what works well and what could be improved before community-wide implementation. Results from the first survey of pilot residents in fall 2021 indicate a strong level of support. Of the 535 survey respondents, 79 per cent said they support organic waste collection.

The survey showed that top concerns include cart cleanliness/keeping the organics cart clean and the possibility of attracting fruit flies and rodents.

Tracking the attitudes of home composters is also a key part of the pilot. Of the 39 per cent of survey respondents that already compost at home, 73 per cent said they support organic waste collection.

When it come to the shift to biweekly garbage and recycling collection, survey data showed that around half of respondents are not concerned.

“This is a key piece of data, as we anticipated the change in collection would be a challenge. The information is showing us that while biweekly collection is a concern for many households, households can adapt,” explained Dick.

“We do allow pilot residents to put excess material out for collection. So far, we haven’t seen a lot of extra garbage or recycling at the curb; about a dozen residents on a 500-household route put out excess material at the curb.”

Next Steps

Staff will continue monitoring how the pilot program is working and will continue engaging with pilot residents for their feedback.

Staff will prepare another report in spring 2022 that will include an update on all aspects of the curbside residential organic waste collection program, including waste diversion data, public engagement information, pilot participation data, potential costs for community-wide implementation, and the results of all funding opportunities pursued to date.

More background on the Curbside Organic Waste Collection Program is available at LetsTalk.Kamloops.ca/Organics.

About Mel Rothenburger (8666 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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