Regional District of Kootenay Boundary green bin program successful

The first two months of the green bin program has seen a big change in garbage management in Grand Forks.

Collection of organic materials from the green bins in the first two months of the program has seen a big change in garbage management in Grand Forks.

Tim Dueck, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s (RDKB) solid waste program co-ordinator, noted the preliminary data has been amazing.

“When I think about whether this has been a success or not, the ultimate matrix for us is the amount of garbage that is diverted,” he explained. “The important stat isn’t necessarily the participation rate or satisfaction rate, it’s the amount of material that we actually got in this green bin program.”

In October, 17.5 tons (38,581 pounds) of garbage were collected from the curbside and 22 tons (48,502 pounds) of organic material was collected from the kitchen scraps alone, not including the yard and garden waste. Another 12 tons (26,455 pounds) of recyclables from the blue bags were also collected.

“It basically speaks to what is most important about this program,” Dueck said. “This is not a garbage collection program, this is a waste management program and we’re trying to manage our waste a lot better.”

Dueck pointed out people have complained about the costs of paying for the garbage and are missing the point of the program.

“The point is that we’re managing the material we are getting on the curbside and being more responsible with managing it,” he added.

There are three different issues that have come up since the program began and Dueck explained the first problem is that since it is a new program, everyone has to learn a new way of doing things.

“There’s no doubt that what we’re doing is completely new and redefining what garbage is and that’s a bit of a learning curve,” he said. “Secondly, we’ve had concerns about bears and bear interaction. The truth is that the material that is in the green bin is the same material that’s in people’s garbage cans. What has to happen is that people have to store their garbage and waste properly.”

The final issue is the costs of the bag liners for the green bins. Dueck noted a liner for a green bin is expensed at around 80 cents, whereas putting an extra garbage bag out is around $3.

“The only other objection we’ve heard all over the region is, ‘What took us so long and when is it coming to Greenwood or Trail?’” said Dueck. “We don’t have a schedule for that, but in 2014, there will be major changes to the way recycling is done in the province of British Columbia.”

He pointed out that the service is currently a municipal service, but that may change in 2014 when provincial regulations will compel the retail industry to look after their own product and packaging, including newspapers.

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

This program will follow the pilot project that the RDKB began in the Valmar subdivision of Grand Forks last January.

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