Green bins to roll out to residents of Grand Forks in October

The City of Grand Forks approved the expansion of the green bin food scraps recycling program to the rest of the city’s residences.

Tim Dueck

Tim Dueck

The City of Grand Forks approved the expansion of the green bin food scraps recycling program to the rest of the city’s residences.

The program will commence the first week of October and will follow the pilot project that the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) began in the Valmar subdivision of Grand Forks last January. The pilot project will continue up until October.

Tim Dueck, the RDKB’s solid waste program co-ordinator, noted that the RDKB expect the delivery of the green bins and educational material to be delivered to residences mid-September.

“We’ll be ready to go with our first collection dates of Oct. 2, 3 and 4 for organic materials,” he said, adding the program has not been extended to include apartment buildings at this time.

“There are several condo and strata buildings that are receiving the blue bags and recycling services and we will be serving those complexes with the organics collection,” he explained. “But buildings with great big common areas and big common garbage disposals, at this point we are not targeting them.”

There is no timeline for when those buildings would get a green bin.

This program is run as a greenhouse gas emission reduction project, Dueck pointed out, so material collected are items already in the garbage system and residents already backyard composting are encouraged to continue doing so.

“We think this dovetails quite nicely with backyard composting. We are also not targeting yard and garden waste in this green bin collection program,” he added. “There is already a monthly collection service for yard and garden waste for city residences so we’re not trying to get that material. That material is banned from our green bin collection program.”

The purpose of the green bin food scraps recycle and diversion program is to take all the organic material that is presently in the city’s garbage and to divert it to our composting program.

“We know from our waste composition studies – which means somebody has gone in and pulled apart bags of garbage and weighed all the different types of garbage – we know from these studies that 40 per cent of our garbage that we presently bury at the Grand Forks landfill is organic material, food scraps – stuff that we are targeting in this green bin program,” Dueck said. “The reason why we’re targeting that material is two-fold.”

The first issue is to extend the life of the landfill so that materials diverted can help the landfill last longer.

The second, Dueck pointed out, is that the organic material put into landfills put out methane when they decompose.

“When bacteria or micro organisms decompose organic material anaerobically, they put out methane, which is a greenhouse gas,” he added.

“We are mandated by the province to do two things, one is to manage our waste appropriately and the other is to manage our greenhouse gas emission from our operations. Almost every municipality in British Columbia has signed on to a greenhouse gas reduction strategy, including the City of Grand Forks and RDKB. We are undertaking this diversion program to address our regulatory requirements from the province.”

Coun. Gary Smith thinks this is a great program for the city.

“It works well and they’ve done their job considering how successful it will be (in Valmar),” he said. “It’s nothing but good, especially when it benefits reduction in waste going to the landfill or changing people’s behaviour.”

Coun. Bob Kendel added, “The program adds around 50 per cent longer life span for the landfill. It’s better stuff for compost and there’s a lot of benefits to this program.”

The green bin program has seen much success in the Valmar subdivision.