Homes in the City of Port Alberni will start receiving their new compost and recycling bins by the end of the month.
Single-family homes will start receiving the new carts between Aug. 23 and Sept. 10. Compost collection will begin the week of Sept. 13. Residents can continue using the same garbage carts they are now using.
Residents will also receive a “Kitchen Buddy”—a small pail that can be kept indoors for easy food scraps collection before transferring the waste to a larger outdoor organics cart. The carts will come with a “welcome package” that provides an overview of the new compost collection system.
Green carts will be collected every week, while garbage and recycling will be collected on alternating weeks. Residents’ current recycling days will stay the same.
Food scraps—including meat, bones, dairy, fats, oils and greases—along with soiled papers and yard waste can be collected in the green carts.
But Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District organics diversion coordinator Jodie Frank warns that “compostable” plastic bags can’t be placed inside of the green cart.
“Those compostable plastic bags can be quite a troublesome issue,” Frank told Port Alberni city council during a meeting on Aug. 9. “To be certified [as compostable] they only have to break down 80 percent, leaving 20 percent of what isn’t broken down in your compost.” That means these little bits of plastic that haven’t broken down can end up in your garden.
Frank said paper bags—including yard waste bags—and newspapers can be used to line the bins, instead.
The green carts are equipped with bear-resistant locks, but these locks must be unclipped prior to collection.
Earth, Land & Sea Compost and Gravel Mart will be responsible for processing the curbside material, and a portion of the compost that is produced will be provided to city residents for personal gardening.
Mayor Sharie Minions said the cost increase will be about $4 a month per household. “We’re still the second-lowest cost provider of these services on Vancouver Island,” she added.
The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District received a $6 million grant back in 2018 to help implement this program. Organics collection will take place in three phases—the first phase will only include single-family dwellings in the City of Port Alberni. Approximately 80 percent of municipalities in B.C. already have a compost program.
Frank says that this new organics collection service could potentially add another 35 to 40 years to the Alberni Valley Landfill.
“Living on an Island, we can’t just go dig up another landfill,” said Frank.
The other solutions are shipping waste to the mainland or a methane gas capture system, which are both “very expensive” options.
If you have questions about the program, you can download the Sort’nGo ACRD app or visit www.LetsConnectACRD.ca/organics. Paper copies of the collection calendar can be obtained by calling the ACRD or city offices.