The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) is kicking off a new educational campaign as the City of Port Alberni prepares to launch roadside organics collection this year.
This spring, green carts will be delivered to city residents for food and yard waste collection, with roadside pickup expected to begin in June 2021.
To prepare the community for this new service, the ACRD has launched an informational hub at www.letsconnectacrd.ca to provide information and answer questions. The new website offers email newsletters and includes frequently asked questions, polls and an opportunity to ask specific questions about the new program.
“As part of City Council’s Strategic Plan, we champion environmental leadership and we strongly support initiatives that result in a healthier, more sustainable and vibrant community,” explained Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions in a press release. “Organic diversion is a priority concern and we continue to take steps to reduce the amount of solid waste generated in our landfill.”
The ACRD estimates that food and yard waste currently accounts for about 30-50 percent of what goes into household garbage carts. In the landfill, organic waste is buried under layers of other waste. Without access to oxygen, it cannot decompose properly and creates methane. ACRD staff have previously explained that the amount of waste going into the Alberni Valley Landfill needs to be reduced, or else taxpayers will face the price tag for an expensive methane gas capture system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next few years.
This organic material can instead be collected and transformed into a renewable resource like compost. The ACRD is still in the process of issuing an RFP to get quotes and select a proponent for organics processing.
“The Sort’nGo Organics program will bring improvements to our community’s solid waste diversion plan by reducing waste, decreasing harmful gases and extending the life of our landfill,” said Minions.
The new organics collection program is part of a wider initiative to transition to an auto-cart system for all three waste streams (garbage, recycling and organics). Organics will be picked up weekly, while garbage and recycling will be collected biweekly, on alternating weeks. The city has already purchased split-body trucks to collect kitchen and garden waste.
The current cost for garbage collection in the city is approximately $12 per month per household. The estimated increase to move to a three-stream collection (garbage, organics, recycling) will be $5-6 per month, for a total curbside collection cost of around $15-20 per month.
The ACRD is hoping to offer organics collection across the entire region (including the West Coast and Alberni Valley electoral areas) by the end of 2023.