ACRD plastics

Alberni’s 3-stream waste collection system is working. Here’s how we can make it better!

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District’s (ACRD) implementation of a three-stream curbside waste collection service within the City of Port Alberni is proving to be a successful diversion strategy and cost-effective solution to our waste issue.

To make it truly exceptional, we need all members of our community on board and doing their part. Some misconceptions about the collection service and what happens at the landfill still exist. Here are the most common comments heard when overseeing a booth out in the community or just in conversation with residents.

  • Sorting kitchen scraps into the organics cart is an unnecessary step as it will decompose at the landfill along with the garbage.
  • Compostable plastics are fine in the organics cart.
  • The Port Alberni population is growing so quickly that we are going to need a gas capture system anyway so why bother with organics.

There are several reasons that diversion of various materials from the landfill is important. Here are a few examples of the positive impact that diverting organics from the landfill has:

Reduce the production of methane gas

Methane gas is produced when organic waste is buried under layers of other waste without access to oxygen. Anaerobic decomposition creates methane (CH4), a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and other harmful environmental issues. New reports show that over a 100-year period methane gas is considered 34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2).

While methane does not linger as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is initially far more devastating to the climate because of how effectively it absorbs heat. The fastest, most effective way to reduce the impact of climate change is to address methane production.

Extend the life of the landfill

Landfill space is beneficial for long-term waste management and should only be used for materials that cannot be reused or recycled. Food waste contributes 30 to 50 per cent of waste sent to the landfill and uses up a lot of precious landfill space, which is finite. By diverting organics from the landfill using the roadside collection program, we can extend its lifespan by an additional 35 years.

Methane gas is produced when organic waste is buried under layers of other waste without access to oxygen.

Compostable plastics

Compostable plastics are designed to break down in the conditions of an industrial composting plant or an industrial anaerobic digestion plant with a subsequent composting step. The system that our local processor, Earth, Land, & Sea, is utilizing is not an appropriate system to fully break down compostable plastics. To lower the risk of potential contamination, reduce screening and separating time, compostable plastics is not permitted in the organics cart.

Do your part!

Everyone can play a role in reducing food waste. Often with minimal effort, food waste can be prevented, saving money and helping to protect the environment. While composting food waste is better than sending it to the landfill, preventing food from being wasted in the first place is the best solution.

Love Food, Hate Waste Canada:

If you find that you are often throwing out food, check out Love Food, Hate Waste Canada. They operate on the mandate that food waste is a solvable problem. They offer simple steps to reduce food waste, from storing food so it stays fresh to using up leftovers to meal planning. It is an educational campaign to assist people on how they handle and store food. For more information and helpful tips go to their website: www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca.

Stay in the know with Sort’nGo!

Visit www.letsconnectacrd.ca/organics for more information about the Organics Collection Service and to ask questions. Questions about sorting and what day your collection is? Download the free Sort’nGo app from your mobile app store for Android and Apple phones. You can also check out the Facebook Page “Sort’nGo – ACRD Recycling & Organics” at facebook.com/ACRD.recycles which has weekly tips and updates for the Valley. If you’re with a community group or a local business, you can contact the ACRD to arrange for an educational presentation for how to best utilize this service.

Recycling