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Castlegar residents to get smaller carts for garbage, current carts to be repurposed for organics

New curbside organics collection program to launch in the spring
Castlegar’s new garbage carts will be half the size of the current ones. (Photo: Betsy Kline)

When curbside organics and compost collection starts in the spring, Castlegar residents will be receiving new smaller collection carts for regular garbage and repurposing their existing 240-litre carts for organics and yard waste.

After a lengthy council discussion, the city has decided to order new 120-litre collection carts and small indoor kitchen catchers from Rollins Machinery for about $800,000. About two-thirds of the expense will be paid for through a grant and the remaining portion will be subsidized by the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

Council debated the merits of choosing the smaller 120-litre carts or a second 240-litre cart for residents.

Staff said the smaller carts encourage more recycling and diversion of organics, which fall into the city’s overall plan of reducing waste headed to the landfill. They also take up less space.

On the negative side, people may try to over fill them, creating bear attractants and difficulties with collection.

The larger carts would cost an additional $55,000 to purchase. Staff said the pros were reducing the likelihood of cross contamination from cart swapping and discouraging people from taking excess garbage to other sites such as parks and city-owned trash bins.

But they would dis-incentivize recycling and organics diversion, hindering the city’s waste reduction goals. They would also be more difficult to store.

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Mayor Maria McFaddin didn’t think the 120-litre carts would be big enough for larger families or families with small children.

“I want to make sure whatever program we’re using is going to work for all of our citizens,” she said. “I’m not sure that a smaller garbage can does. We already get complaints that the 240 [litres] is not big enough for a two-week period.”

Councillor Sue Heaton Sherstibitoff was in favour of the smaller carts and said they would also help extend the life of the landfill.

In the end, the vote was 5 - 2 in favour of the smaller carts. However, council asked staff to look into options for residents who may need more garbage capacity, such as allowing them to purchase an additional cart. Staff will bring a report back to council at a later date.

When the new system rolls out in April, curbside organic collection for things like food scraps and yard waste will take place weekly, but garbage and recycling will continue to be on alternating weeks.

The city’s compost will got to a composting facility set up by the RDCK at the old landfill site in Salmo. The facility will compost using a process called aerated windrows. It will include a building that will house a mixer (a large piece of industrial equipment to mix the various components of the compost), along with various electrical components and blowers to aerate the compost mixture.

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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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