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Contaminants decreasing in Castlegar’s curbside organics program

Most residents are complying with collection rules

Castlegar’s solid waste and organics ambassador says most of the city’s residents are doing a good job sorting their waste under the city’s new curbside collection system.

Emily teBulte told city council on Nov. 2 that on most collection days, there are now only zero to five organic carts that are contaminated with garbage.

teBulte says that since the city began tagging contaminated bins for rejection, the stream of contamination has been steadily decreasing.

However, a relatively small number of contaminated carts has resulted in a large quantity of contamination in the organic materials sent to the compost facility since the large organic carts can contain up to five garbage bags.

Another problem occurring in the organics bins is that some people are putting their organic items inside of non-organic products. This includes food scraps placed in Ziploc or other plastic bags, food soiled plastic wrap, tin foil and Styrofoam.

Landscaping fabric and trash collected as part of yard cleanups being placed in the organics bins is also a problem. These items must be sorted out and placed in garbage or recycling bins.

Contaminated organics loads are sent to the landfill at a higher cost. Organics are charged $88 per tonne, but rejected loads are charged five time as much. However, the regional district has not started to charge the city the highest rate for those loads during this transition period, rather charging the $123-per-tonne garbage rate for those loads.

A large portion of Castlegar’s organics collection has turned out to be yard waste. teBulte says this has turned out to be a good thing for the new compost facility in Salmo as mixing our organics with food-heavy loads from other areas has helped the facility to find a good balance that is creating “pretty fantastic” compost.

In order to deal with a handful of repeat offenders, teBulte encouraged council to update the city’s municipal ticketing bylaw to allow for fines.

Tracey Butler, the city’s corporate services manager, said that a new bylaw is already being prepared and it should come before council by the end of the year.

Since the program launched, garbage volume has decreased by about 50 per cent.

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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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