Garbage in, garbage out: City unveils new approach to waste management
Trash talk took centre stage at the Community Forum Tuesday night, with roughly 25 people, not including city staff and council, on hand to hear what the city proposes in terms of garbage collection and waste management.
A presentation offered by director of Transportation and Civic Works Chris Barlow indicated some changes to the current system.
“Over the last year-and-a -half, the City of Castlegar has been researching potential changes to solid waste and recycling services to encourage waste reduction and maximize recycling,” Barlow said. “The city considered a list of over a dozen possible service combinations before reaching the Proposed Solid Waste and Recycling Program.”
Barlow said the city’s current waste diversion rate is roughly 27 per cent, and they’d like to increase that to 50 per cent, while residential recycling rates are at only 45 per cent. He also pointed out that there are some dissonances in the current recycling system, in that the blue recycle bags are not, themselves, recyclable.
The meeting also featured a presentation by WildSafeBC Community Coordinator Jenny Wallace, who indicated that Castlegar has had more bears destroyed than most communities in B.C., and a lot of that is due to garbage. She said the new bear-proof containers may attract bears because of the smell, but when there’s no food reward for them, they’ll simply move on.
“Those containers were tested – if a grizzly can’t get into one within an hour, it’s certified as bear resistant,” she said, adding grizzlies are significantly more fierce and persistent than their smaller black-bear cousins we see in Castlegar.
The containers are part of the city’s plan to become designated Bear Smart, which will, in turn, create the opportunity for local conservation officers to consider non-lethal ways of dealing with bears.
Residents still have the opportunity to offer feedback by filling out an online survey by Nov. 13 at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/castlegarsw . Paper copies are available at City Hall.
The Proposed Solid Waste and Recycling Program would work as follows, with changes rolled out in spring of 2016:
It is proposed that the city move towards biweekly automated garbage collection. Residents would be provided with a standard 242-litre wheeled garbage cart with bear-resistant locks (residents will not see any rate increase for these carts). The benefits of this proposed program include:
· Reduced collection frequency has been shown to reduce household waste and increase waste diversion
· Promotes the use of disposal alternatives such as recycling and backyard composting
· Reduced human-bear conflict, certified bear-resistant carts have been designed and tested to ensure bears cannot access food from the cart which has been proven to reduce human-bear conflict
· Reduced collection costs and more accurate billing
· Reduced collection vehicle traffic and reduced Greenhouse Gas emissions
It is proposed that the City move towards dual stream curbside recycling collection. Residents would be provided with two – 82L blue boxes: one for paper and cardboard and one for plastic and tin containers. If required, additional recycling can be set out in additional owner-supplied blue boxes. It is also proposed that the cty move away from costly curbside glass collection and instead have a depot where glass can be dropped off. The benefits of this proposed program include:
· Reusable blue boxes eliminate the need for non-recyclable plastic bags
· Financial incentive, MMBC offers a higher incentive for communities that separate paper from containers at the curb. The incentive for our current single stream system will be decreasing
· Reduced collection costs from the elimination of curbside glass collection
No change is proposed for current yard waste services. The city will continue to offer twice-annual curbside collection and continue to maintain the Yard Waste Compost Facility behind the Castlegar Community Complex.
Organic Waste/ Kitchen Scraps
In order to promote backyard composting, city-subsidized composters will be available to interested residents in 2016. To support backyard composting, an education campaign focused on composting in bear country will be implemented. In addition, the city will continue to support RDCK’s efforts to start a regional organics collection and composting program.