LETTER: Kitchen waste collection a waste of money

Why should the city do it at all?

To the Editor,

I lived in the big, would-be green city of Victoria for a couple of years when they first did kitchen waste. Guess what? The kitchen waste ended up going into the regular dump for a while, and it ended up a bit of a financial fiasco. I think it’s back on the go now, but it cost way more than they had ever bargained for.

There are a lot of other things Port Alberni can do to appear “gracefully greening” to the rest of the world (as some local notable referred the proposed kitchen waste collection). The city could just purchase a big billboard in Nanoose, saying “Port Alberni is going Green”…invest while you can! Change the message now and then…a great way to get recognition.

As for the actual need for kitchen waste collection, that’s a whole other story.

Most people I asked use their kitchen waste for compost, gardening and pets. In other words, they have no kitchen waste. Meat and bones go in the wood stove.

If you recycle your containers, plastics, and paper, metal cans, bottles etc., it’s fairly easy to put your food scraps and slop in a food container by the sink, then take them out to the compost box once in awhile. However, you need a good box or a cat to make sure rodents or raccoons don’t get in.

What about the restaurants, apartment buildings, hospitals, and other kitchens who can’t or don’t want to compost? Many municipalities’ collection systems just flat out do not do these. They have to do local collections then take it somewhere. What do our food stores do with their outdate foodstuffs? Do they pay to deal with it?

Many people can’t or don’t want to do composting in their yards, or community yards, however the right encouragement might help. A tax rebate for good household recycling could be offered. A good rat proof and raccoon proof box might be invented and offered.

Cutting down on the kitchen waste before it hits the curb will leave less for the city to pick up.

Also, why should the city do it at all? It might make a great local business for a couple of people. Why should the city take away jobs from the private sector?

Some districts say up to 40 percent of landfill is used for organic (kitchen and garden waste). That may not be the case in Port Alberni. Garden waste is already accepted free at the dump, and being Canada’s most impoverished community we just can’t throw food away like the Vancouverites and Victorians. In fact, we are so impoverished and have so little it’s a wonder we’re not at the top of the most environmentally conscious list of town. Clearly the less you have, the less of everything you throw away!

I would like to say I’m just a dumb old logger looking at things with common sense. I cannot: I’ve looked at politics and economics and municipal workings from both an academic and hands-on point of view.

I know that buying a million bucks worth of anything is a fabulous experience for those doing the buying and ordering and receiving. Makes everyone feel good having new equipment.

In this case I believe it could be a mistake to buy new million dollar trucks. The old (new) ones are doing a fine job.

A look at alternatives, and whether there’s an actual need for curbside kitchen waste pick up, especially a municipally funded model should be looked at.

Please do not go out and order these trucks. Way more research needs to be done. There are far more pressing issues to throw money at: like fighting the intense and somewhat unrecognized wave of crime and addiction and despair Port Alberni is leading all of Canada in. Or the lovely city-owned at arms-length train needs a million or two, also.

Mike Wright,

Port Alberni

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