Morinville moves for full organics collection
But will once-a-month work in winter?
Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 06:00 am
Trash collection could be in for an overhaul this May in Morinville as the town moves towards full organic waste collection.
Town council passed first reading of this year’s waste management bylaw last Feb. 11.
The bylaw, if approved, would upgrade the town’s curbside yard waste collection service to full organics, meaning residents could put both yard waste and kitchen scraps in their green bins.
It’s part of the town’s push under its municipal sustainability plan to reach zero waste, town public works director Claude Valcourt said in an interview.
“The more garbage you can divert from the landfill, the better for the environment,” he said.
Town residents would use their existing green yard-waste bins to hold their yard and kitchen waste, Valcourt said. The town would run an extensive education campaign prior to rolling out the new program to teach residents what was and wasn’t allowed in the green bins.
The town would have to emphasize to residents not to put incorrect materials in their green bins, Valcourt told council. “If the load is contaminated, the entire load goes to the garbage.”
The draft bylaw would see organic waste collected every week from May to October and once a month from November to April.
Valcourt told council this was feasible because residents wouldn’t have any yard waste in the winter.
“It’s strictly table scraps, so it takes a long time to fill up that cart,” he said.
Still, Coun. Stephen Dafoe was concerned that those scraps could raise a stink if the weather got warm. “The bins could be pretty ripe by the end of April.”
Council can change this schedule if they wish, Valcourt said. Standstone Enviro-Waste Services, which collects the town’s trash, has successfully done monthly pickups in other communities in the past.
St. Albert council recently asked its staff to look into monthly organics collection, said city solid waste programs co-ordinator Christian Benson.
“If we were to look at the potential to go to monthly, there would have to be a cost or opportunity savings for us.”
Benson said a green cart in St. Albert probably wouldn’t be overflowing after a month, but it would depend on how it was used – he managed to fill his in two weeks after cleaning out his deep freeze, for example.
“It’s nice to see Morinville looking at this route too.”
The draft bylaw proposes a raft of other changes to the town’s waste program.
Non-recyclable, non-compostable trash was to be picked up every second week, for example, instead of every week.
Valcourt explained in an interview that if people recycled and used their organics carts as they should, they’d have very little actual trash left, which would reduce the need for weekly pickups. If they did fill their carts, they could haul their trash directly to the Roseridge landfill or buy additional carts.
Condos would continue to get weekly trash pickup, however, as many do not have the yard waste carts needed for organics recycling, Valcourt said.
Recyclables would continue to be picked up every week.
The draft law also changes when collection trucks will roll out. Instead of collecting trash on Tuesday and yard waste and recycling on Wednesday, trucks would now collect all three streams on the same day.
That day would be Tuesday for homes north of 100 Ave. and Wednesday for those south of it.
This change was meant to reduce conflicts with snow-plows and street sweepers that otherwise have to dodge carts, Valcourt said.
The draft law would also require residents to remove their carts from the curb by 11 p.m. on collection day. Violators would risk a $100 fine.
Costs and benefits
These changes would add a net 33 cents a month or $3.96 a year to the average homeowner’s trash bill, Valcourt said. While organics collection actually cost about 83 cents a month, this was offset by the elimination of the 50-cent Reuse It or Loose It event levy. (The town plans to fund that event out of its own pocket as of this year’s budget.)
Condo owners would see their rates drop to $13.08 a month due to the elimination of the Reuse It or Loose It fee.
Coun. Nicole Boutestein asked Valcourt to see if the town could give residents free kitchen-catcher bins for organic waste as St. Albert did.
The new waste program will roll out May 1 if the bylaw is approved, Valcourt said.
While he wasn’t sure how it would affect the town’s waste diversion rates, he was confident it would greatly increase them.
Morinville currently keeps 27.6 per cent of its waste out of the landfill through recycling and yard waste collection, reports the Capital Region Waste Advisory Committee.
Curbside organics collection typically boosts diversion rates by 20 per cent, reports St. Albert’s 2008 solid waste management system review.