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SCRD directors push for food waste collection

SCRD directors push for food waste collection

Curbside collection of residential food waste helped the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) reduce the amount of household garbage collected by half within five years. After hearing details on the RDN’s success, the Sunshine Coast Regional District infrastructure services committee supported adding this service in all rural areas except Area A (Pender Harbour/Egmont).  If the SCRD Board supports the plan at its May 23 meeting, the earliest that the new service could be in place would be January, 2020.

Jeff Ainge of Carey McIver & Associates presented details on the RDN’s experience at the committee’s May 16 meeting. Ainge, a former RDN employee, planned and implemented that district’s residential food waste collection when he was at the district.

Consultant Jeff Ainge explains how Nanaimo cut its household garbage in half, partly by having residential food waste collected separately. Connie Jordison photo

The Committee recommended a weekly collection service that will be supported by a mobile application or app.  An app lets residents sign up for text or email reminders about upcoming collection days and other information on the service.  In the Town of Gibsons’ recent introduction of food waste collection a similar app has been deployed.  The District of Sechelt also has a citizen services app which provides information on residential garbage collection.  It also covers the curbside food and garden waste collection pilot project which has been running in the Davis Bay area for six years.  Sechelt Council is currently considering expanding the organic waste collection throughout that municipality.

Costs for the food waste collection service have been estimated at $6.50/week for each of the 5,800 impacted rural residential properties. Once curbside food waste collection is in place, a reduction in household garbage collection and costs related to that service may be able to be considered.

The committee did not support provisions for residents to opt-out of the proposed new service. The staff report provided to the committee stated that per household costs would rise to about $7.22/week if 10 per cent of the properties in the service area chose to opt-out. This is due to administrative costs and the fixed costs of having collection vehicles serving routes in rural areas.

A request for proposals for the service as well as the supply of curbside bins and start-up kits were also recommended by the committee.  The supply of kitchen or countertop bins in the kits was rejected by the committee. Several directors stated they preferred to see residents reuse a container already in their home for this purpose.

In addition, the committee is calling for a staff report on garden/green waste collection. They are looking for details on the costs, benefits and how curbside collection of this waste would impact the residential green waste drop-off services that are currently offered.

In a related report to the Committee, it was noted that the amount of green waste that was diverted by recycling from the SCRD’s landfill in 2018 was 4,209 tonnes.  In 2011, the amount diverted was 2,499 tonnes.

The amount of waste being disposed of at the landfill has remained relatively steady over the past eight years. In this same period the area’s estimated population has grown by about 3,000 residents.  The waste diversion rate was 48 per cent in 2011.  It increased to 56 per cent in 2016 and has remained at that rate through to 2018.  The average resident was responsible for generating 403 kilograms of landfill waste in 2018.

Connie Jordison

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