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Castlegar’s new curbside organics program cuts garbage volume in half

The program is now two months old
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Castlegar is sending 23 tonnes of organics to the RDCK compost facility each week. Photo: Metro Creative Stock

Two months into Castlegar’s new waste and organics collection program, the city is seeing a noticeable reduction on trash headed to the landfill.

Prior to the addition of curbside organics collection, Waste Management collected an average of 53.8 tonnes of garbage each collection day within the city. Garbage collection takes place every other week.

The average amount picked up now is 26.2 tonnes per collection, an almost 50-per-cent reduction.

An average of 23.4 tonnes of organics is now collected each week.

When combined together, the new tonnage over two weeks equals 73 tonnes, which is 19 tonnes more than before the organics program was initiated. But Castlegar’s municipal services director Chris Hallam says the increase is due to the addition of yard waste entering the curbside collection stream.

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In addition to environmental benefits, diverting organics from the garbage stream to the organic compost stream also has the potential to save the city money. Tipping fees at the landfill for garbage are $137 per ton and tipping fees at the regional district’s compost facility for organics are $88 per ton.

Under the current averages, the city has not realized these savings. Some of that is due to a number of organics loads being rejected and sent to the landfill because they contained garbage, especially in the first few weeks of the program.

The city expects more garbage diversion as the program continues.

As for the long-term financial implications of the program, the outcome will vary depending on whether the city decides to keep the yard-waste facility at the Castlegar Community Complex open or not. The facility costs taxpayers $125,000 each year.

Yard waste can now be placed in the curbside collection bins each week, creating a duplication of services.

Initially, the city planned to close the facility, but public outcry provoked a change of mind.

This summer, city council decided to wait until the new program was in place for at least a year before making a decision on the closure of the yard waste facility.

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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