The City of Port Alberni purchased split-body garbage trucks, which can pick up kitchen and garden waste. NEWS FILE PHOTO

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District eyes compost recycling in the city for spring 2021

Three-stream waste collection system pitched as ACRD begins to phase out organics from landfill

The City of Port Alberni could have curbside compost collection as early as March 2021.

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board—which oversees recycling collection for the region—voted on Wednesday, Aug. 26 to support a three-stream collection of organics, recycling and waste in the City of Port Alberni. The decision still needs support from Port Alberni city council, after which the ACRD will move forward with a request for proposals (RFP) to purchase compost bins and will develop a communication plan for city residents.

Currently, the city collects garbage once a week, while bi-weekly curbside recycling is contracted to the ACRD. With this new collection system, the city will collect recycling and garbage on a bi-weekly basis, with organics picked up weekly.

ACRD manager of operations Jenny Brunn explained that this option is the most efficient and offers the lowest cost per household for city residents. The city already owns split-body garbage trucks for kitchen and garden waste.

READ MORE: City to spend close to $1 million on new garbage trucks

Organics will be brought to a local processing facility. The ACRD is still in the process of issuing an RFP to get quotes and select a proponent for organics processing.

“It will be turned into compost, which we can use,” said Brunn.

The RFPs for compost bins and a processing facility will be going out “mostly simultaneously,” said Brunn.

“We’re hoping to get [compost collection] rolling in the spring, so we’re just trying to get that out as soon as possible,” she explained. “With COVID, we expect delays, so we’re hoping it will be within a six-month window.”

READ MORE: Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District gets serious about composting

Director Penny Cote of Sproat Lake said she supports this service for the city of Port Alberni, but doesn’t support implementation for the rural areas of the Alberni Valley without further consultation. Many of the rural areas currently have private garbage collection.

“I don’t know that the purchase of these bins is what the rural areas want to do,” she said. “Most areas…are not having garbage collection through the regional district, it’s on a personal basis. I think there’s much more consultation that needs to go on.”

Brunn agreed that there will be more consultation before the ACRD moves forward with collection in the Alberni Valley and on the West Coast.

Beaver Creek director John McNabb pointed out that in the future, the Alberni Valley Landfill won’t be accepting organic waste at all. Rural residents will have to arrange for a collection service, or begin their own compost.

“The idea of all of this is to remove organics from our landfill and make sure that we don’t have to go to gas extraction,” he said. “This stuff’s not going to go in the landfill.”

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