Christina Lake looking to take recycling to the curb

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) is looking for ways to reduce the amount of waste heading to the area landfills.

At a meeting last week in Christina Lake, Tim Dueck, the solid waste program co-ordinator for the RDKB, talked about what would help them reach the goal of curbside recycling for the Christina Lake area.

“We’re looking at a program, asking people to sort their garbage into three streams,” Dueck says.

The first stream would be organics that can be composted, such as kitchen scraps; these would be picked up every week.

The second part is co-mingled recycling, which would be picked up every other week.

The third are the residuals, or the regular garbage, which Dueck expects can account for less than a quarter of total waste from homes, and would be picked on alternating weeks with the recycling.

Dueck says the regional district would likely provide the 40-litre bins.

According to the RDKB, roughly 40 per cent of garbage going to the landfill is organic material that could have been composted and half of the garbage entering could have been recycled in an existing program.

The program would see a collection system and would only use one or two trucks – outfitted with dual compartments for garbage and the

recyclables – to keep costs low, both environmental and financial.

The recycling part of the program would be funded by general taxation, while the other two streams would end up as a cost of an estimated $70 to $80 per household, per year.

“The cost would probably be directly billed to residents,” Dueck says. He also compared the costs of the new program to what residents are already paying.

“Basically in Area C, the cost of garbage collection is $2.80 a bag,” he says, adding that taking it to the landfill yourself will cost you $2 a bag.

“At that rate of $2 to the landfill if you produce one bag of garbage… per week throughout the year, you’ll be paying $104.”

Dueck says that they do take into account concerns for new programs.

“That we ensure that it is affordable, it’s acceptable to the taxpayer,” he says. “We think this isn’t too far out of line.”

He says that the RDKB is also looking at a “pay-as-you-throw system.”

“That means that if you’re not participating in the recycling program, you’re paying for the recycling program, you’re paying for the people who are doing it.”

“It’s a subtle policy tool, but it benefits people who do (recycle).”

Dueck says that if the amount of waste going into the landfill remains at the rate it is now, the Grand Forks landfill will be full in 35 years.

“If we want to extend the life of the landfill, we have to cut back on how much is going in,” Dueck says. “When the landfill is full, it’s going to be messy.”

Dueck adds that no contracts have been approved yet but once they are, he expects the program to begin operating six months after.