Erica Janyk was nervous when her home was chosen for the city’s organic waste pilot program because it meant a new collection schedule — weekly organics collection and alternating biweekly garbage and recycling.
The Westsyde resident didn’t know if her household could limit garbage pickup to every two weeks.
“But we’ve been doing fine,” Janyk said. “We put so much in our compost now that our garbage isn’t an issue for us.”
The city estimates 42 per cent of household trash is organic material and it is working to divert that material from the landfill as part of an organic waste recycling pilot program, which began on Sept. 20.
The city’s environmental services manager, Glen Farrow, said city collection of food scraps, paper and yard waste includes 2,500 homes across five collection zones, in the neighbourhoods of Westsyde, Brocklehurst, McDonald Park, Coach Hills/Upper Sahali and Valleyview/Juniper West.
Since the pilot launched, the city has diverted 32,500 kilograms of organic waste. The organic waste collected by the city is being trucked by Arrow Transport to Princeton, alongside the city’s biosolids.
Farrow said of 2,500 properties included in the pilot, 20 to 25 homeowners asked for the carts to be removed. Concerns included biweekly collection of garbage and recycling, potential wildlife interactions and the “yuck factor,” he said.
Janyk said she would like the city to allow use of compostable bags, but the city wants residents to line their kitchen bins with newspaper for disposal into the larger curbside bins. Farrow compared reluctance by some to adoption of curbside recycling in 2008.
“We’re saying no, please try,” Farrow said. “Please give it a good try in determining what’s well, what isn’t.”
Coun. Bill Sarai chairs the city’s civic operations committee. He said the program will divert a significant amount of waste from the landfill and, potentially in the future, allow the city to turn a profit on compost. He said the pilot project will inform the final program.
“This is not only an educational piece for our residents, but this is also a huge educational piece for the city and city staff as well,” he said. “We’re both learning this new rollout — the good, the bad and the ugly and that’s what a pilot project should be, to see what works and what doesn’t.”
Another Westsyde resident, who is not involved in the pilot program, said she would like the opportunity to opt out when the program expands in the future.
The pilot is expected to last one year and then be rolled out across the city. Diane Kuchma said she has been composting for more than a decade. She said that, while the city program may be good for some people, she doesn’t want to be charged for a new bin.
“We’ve been doing a good thing all along and I don’t want to have to pay for something I’m doing already,” Kuchma said.
Farrow said the program allows more items to be composted, including chicken bones and additional yard waste. He said an opt-out system is not utilized by other communities, but will be part of the conversation when the city reviews findings from its pilot.
The main goal is to get more people to compost in Kamloops to divert significant amounts of tonnage from the landfill.
Janyk said that, while composting was part of her family’s routine growing up, her household did not compost prior to taking part in the city’s pilot, due to fear of attracting wildlife and cost to hire a private company.
Asked if she would want to keep the program, she said: “Yes, so far. It’s very early on, maybe eventually we find we start to attract animals or something, but so far it’s been fine.”
Farrow said the city’s organic waste collection pilot program is being provided to participants under regular garbage and recycling rates. In the long-term, he said he does not know if people will pay more for the service. To weigh in or for more information, go online to kamloops.ca/organicspilot or letstalk.kamloops.ca/organics.
Will less frequent garbage collection lead to upsized bins?
Asked if the city expects people to upsize their garbage bins, should garbage bins be collected less frequently (every two weeks) under the new organics program, Farrow said the organics container should eliminate a lot of waste from garbage bins and the city does not want people to engage in knee-jerk-reactions.
In addition, he said the city does not have sufficient inventory of larger garbage containers, due to supply chain issues.