Town enhancing household garbage and recycling program
The Town of Stony Plain is making important changes to its household garbage and recycling collection program, in order to improve efficiencies and reduce the amount of waste headed to landfills.
“The new program will help the Town preserve our environment by having less trash in our landfills,” says William Choy, deputy mayor of Stony Plain. “The entire community benefits from having less trash and fewer trash problems. Recycling not only makes good sense from an environmental perspective, it also makes good economic sense. The improved program is a prime example of how we can do more with less, using innovative methods to increase efficiency, reduce long-term costs and protect the environment.”
Automated Waste Carts
Starting April 17, 2012, household garbage will be collected every two weeks via Automated Cart Collection – a system where a mechanical arm on a specially designed truck picks up the Cart, empties it and then returns it to its original position.
Between April 3 and 16, Ever Green Ecological Services, the contractor retained by the Town to collect household waste, will deliver grey, 65-gallon Waste Carts to every household (excluding apartments) that pays for waste collection service. The Waste Carts are the same size as the existing Organicarts and are easy and safe to pull and maneuver and have lids to prevent littering. Residents simply collect their garbage in bags and place them into the Waste Cart for automated collection.
In addition to minimizing waste, the Carts will help promote cleaner neighbourhoods; they will help keep trash from being scattered by the wind and will deter birds, dogs and cats or vermin from getting into trash. The system will be safer for collection crews, reducing risks of injury caused by heavy lifting and handling of dangerous waste and contamination.
Year-round Organicart Collection
The Town is also making changes to its Organicarts collection. Starting April 17, Organicarts will be picked up all-year-round – every week from mid-April to mid-October and every second week between mid-October and mid-April.
Year-round organics collection has proven to yield long-term, cost-savings to municipalities. Presently, it costs $48 per tonne to dump garbage at the landfill but only $39 per tonne to discard organics at the anaerobic digester at the Growing Power Hairy Hill Integrated bioRefinery.
Blue Bag(s) Recycling
Curbside Blue Bag(s) recycling will continue to be picked up every two weeks.
While the amount of garbage and organics picked up will be limited to what can be placed correctly inside the Carts, there will be no limit to the number of Blue Bag(s) residents can put out for collection – provided the contents are acceptable.
Approximately 45 per cent of the average household garbage bag is made up of food scraps and other organics material that could easily be turned into compost. An average family of four can compost more than 500 kg per year of food and yard waste (Source: WasteNot, March 2004).
Recycling food waste through composting helps the environment and dramatically increases diversion from the landfill. All residents need to do is put their food scraps and compostable paper products into their Organicarts, rather than discarding them with their regular garbage.
To encourage citizens to dispose of food scraps in a more ecologically friendly manner, the Town is providing, to every household, a free, unobtrusive Kitchen Catcher, which Ever Green will deliver between Feb. 27 and Mar. 15.
The Kitchen Catcher is great for collecting food scraps and emptying them into the Organicart. The container can be used with or without a lining of compostable bags, paper bags or newsprint. It has a removable lid and is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning and maintenance.
Reducing waste at the source is the most environmentally sustainable approach to solid waste management. The Automated Waste and Organic Curbside Collection program will make it even easier and convenient for residents to store and dispose of their compostable materials, recyclables and garbage.
It will provide a cleaner, more streamlined method of waste collection, alleviate increased costs of garbage collection and transportation over the long-term and will support the shared commitment of the Town and its residents to be good environmental stewards, to ensure a sustainable community both now – and for future generations.
The Town launched its existing garbage and recycling program in 2006. Since then, Blue Bag tonnage has increased by 19 per cent, organics by 58 per cent, cardboard by 303 per cent and newsprint by 202 per cent. The total volume of waste collected since the program’s inception is 25,724.39 tonnes.
In the pre-recycling era, these materials would have ended up in landfill, but thanks to the success of this program and the citizens who have embraced it, the Town has been very successful in diverting the amount of waste destined for landfills. A survey conducted by the City of Leduc in 2009 indicates that Stony Plain had the third-highest diversion rate of all municipalities within the Capital Region.
The Capital Region Waste Minimization Authority (CWRMAC) – an intergovernmental committee established to provide a forum for information-sharing – brings together stakeholders in co-operative, collaborative efforts to facilitate joint waste-minimization solutions. The goal of the CWRMAC is to achieve a waste diversion rate of 80 per cent. The changes to the Town’s solid waste management program will assist the Town and the Capital Region in achieving this goal by or before 2022.
In Spring 2011, Council directed Administration to research the Town’s existing waste management program to see if improvements could be made. In November, Council considered several options and approved the changes that will take effect this April.
Wipe Out Waste Campaign
Early this week, the Town launched Wipe Out Waste – a public awareness campaign intended to inform citizens about the new program and the rationale for the changes.
In addition to delivering Kitchen Catchers, the Town has created a number of educational tools to help residents transition to the revised program, including a brand-new website designed specifically for this campaign.
Complete information about the changes, including a list of acceptable/unacceptable items for Blue Bag(s), Organicarts and Waste Carts; detailed answers to a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions about the program; and step-by-step instructions on how to place your Carts and Blue Bag(s) on the curb, is available at www.wipeoutwaste.ca.
Additional communications tools will be shared with, or distributed to, residents throughout the next two months. For more information, visit wipeoutwaste.ca, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.