After meeting with success in Grand Forks, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) has expanded the green bin program into Area D and is looking at spring for Area C (Christina Lake).
Alan Stanley, general manager of environmental services for the RDKB, said the program has been operating in Grand Forks for two years and has been very well received. The program has been in rural Grand Forks (Area D) since November 2 for those residents who were previously receiving curbside recycling.
The pick up is done by Kettle Valley Waste, which is contracted by the RDKB. The RDKB program in the City of Grand Forks was brought in by then-Mayor Brian Taylor and then-CAO Lynne Burch.
“Kettle Valley Waste (from Christina Lake) is one of our prime service providers here in the Boundary,” said Stanley. “They’ve proven to be an absolutely outstanding contractor.”
Stanley said that in the past green bin programs could only be effectively run in larger centres.
“The team at Kettle Valley Waste proved that it could be done on a smaller scale,” he said. “There was then a lot of desire to have it moved to the other areas but we didn’t want to bite off more than we could chew. So it was expanded into rural Grand Forks (Area D) in November and then Christina Lake (Area C).”
Stanley said the RDKB is targeting March 1 for a potential start date for the green bin program at the Lake.
“It’s been a long time coming because we’ve been phasing it in,” he said. “The original proposal Kettle Valley Waste gave us was for Grand Forks, Area D and Area C all at once but for a variety of reasons that didn’t happen. Now that we’ve had some experience with it in phasing it in on an area-by-area basis, it’s proven to be quite successful and quite a good way of managing it.”
The City of Grand Forks is the first jurisdiction in the B.C. Interior to provide residents with curbside collection of kitchen scraps. The program targets organic material (anything that was once plant or animal) that would otherwise end up in the landfall.
Some of the materials residents can put in the green bin are: baked goods such as bread and cookies; cheese rinds and moldy cheese; coffee, including filters; sauces and gravy; fish bones, skin, guts, etc.; meat, bones, skin and fat; pet waste; eggs and egg shells; and much more.
“It’s been great,” said Stanley. “By weight, we’re looking at about a 40 to 50 per cent reduction (in garbage). When we were looking at the stats from the curbside garbage collection the key is to get this stuff out of the landfill. That’s why it’s really focused on stuff that used to be in your garbage can because that’s the stuff going in to the landfill.”
Stanley said waste providers are under increased pressure through regulations from the government to look after the landfills.
“By taking these organics out of the landfill you eliminate the methane generation of the landfill which is huge from a greenhouse gas perspective,” he said. “There are other fantastic benefits: you significantly increase the life of your landfill which then increases the time you have to pay for the liabilities of your landfill.”
Stanley said the RDKB is currently using the organic material collected in the green bin program to cover inactive landfills that were closed when stricter government regulations came in.
Stanley said the green bin program has essentially been paid for by the provincial recycling program (MMBC) which is paid for by industries.
“Basically we’re doing it without any raises to taxes and we’re just repurposing the revenue we were using for the recycling program into the green bin program,” he said.
He did add that Area D residents have to pay $3 per bag of garbage.
“What we’re saying is you can put out as much recycling and compost as you want at no charge but every bag of garbage will cost you money,” said Stanley. “That’s more of an encouragement to get people to use the green bins and recycling.”
GREEN BIN STATS FOR AREA D
Nov. 3 – First day of green bin/garbage collection service in Area D/Rural Grand Forks
1,020 – number of green bins distributed in Area D/Rural Grand Forks
20 – number of rural Grand Forks residents who refused to participate in the green bin program (2 per cent)
4,108 – The total number of ‘free’ garbage tags distributed to residents at the start of the collection program
$3 – The cost of an RDKB garbage tag. Each bag of garbage (70 litre size) must have an RDKB garbage sticker
284 – the number of garbage bags collected in rural Grand Forks during November
707 – the number of green bins collected in rural Grand Forks during November
35 per cent – The participation rate for rural Grand Forks residents in the green bin program in the first month of the program
5.83 tonnes – The amount of breen bin material collected from rural Grand Forks residents during the month of November
2.4 tonnes – The amount of garbage material collected from rural Grand Forks residents during November
5 – number of places rural residents can purchase RDKB garbage tags: three grocery stores, the landfill and the RDKB office