This spring, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) will be rolling out roadside organics collection in the City of Port Alberni – part of a new 3-stream (organics, recycling, and garbage) automated cart collection service in the city.
This new waste service is designed to allow residents to properly sort, store and divert food and yard waste to help extend the life of the Alberni Valley landfill as well as ensuring methane emissions (a greenhouse gas) are reduced. Many residents have questions, some are reluctant, some ecstatic, but the overarching goal is that as a community we undertake a learning journey to ensure this program is a success!
By diverting organics from the waste stream,the Alberni Valley is one step closer to achieving its target:to divert 50 per cent of residential household waste from the local landfill. By diverting organics our waste generation should drop from 589 kg/person to 400 kgs/person!
Try to visualize the savings and what this weight differential would be. If each person has a savings of 189kgs per year and we multiply by 10,000 people (keeping the math simple) this would equate 1,890 tonnes. The average weight of an orca is between 3 to 4 tonnes. This would equal to the weight of 500 orcas!
What will be collected?
Curbside organics will allow residents to dispose of all food waste, including bones, meat, dairy, grease, and soiled paper-based items (paper towels, tissues, and greasy pizza boxes). As well, yard waste (grass clippings, tree trimmings and garden waste) will be collected at the curb, providing it fits into your organics cart.The yard waste component should save residents time and money by reducing trips to the landfill.Our surrounding forests, trails and airshed will also benefit by reducing the amount of illegal dumping and burning.
Waste composition studies have shown that 30 to 50 per cent of household waste is food waste. Keeping this in mind, the organics cart will be emptied weekly, while garbage and recycling carts will be emptied on alternating weeks.The City’s split trucks will get to be used for their original purpose!
Why not send organics to the landfill?
Organic material can be a source of methane emissions. When organics are buried in the landfill without access to oxygen, it cannot compost and creates methane gas. Currently, the AV Landfill continues to be within the allowable level of emissions as set by the province.Proactive measures need to be taken now to ensure this limit is not triggered, as a costly gas capture system would have to be installed.
How much will this cost?
Diverting organics is a viable, cost-effective solution. It is not free, but the increased cost is minimal. The current costs for garbage collection in the City are approximately $12/month per household. The estimated increase is $5 to $6/month for a total curbside collection cost of around $15 to 20/month.
Over the course of the next few months, keep your eyes open for future articles which address some of the key components of this new 3-stream collection service.Topics will include:
- What is an automated curbside system? Sort’nGo.
- Meet the processors and product
- Benefits of Compost (also known as black gold)
- Repurposing your old bins and getting to know your new carts
Visit www.letsconnectacrd.ca for more information about the Organics Collection Service and to ask questions. Questions about sorting? Download the free Sort’nGo app go from your mobile app store. You can also check out the Facebook Page “Alberni Valley Waste Reduction Education” which has weekly tips and updates for the valley.”