After just seven months, the City of Castlegar’s new garbage and recycling program is already showing results.
An update given to city council by Chris Barlow, director of transportation and civic works, shows that after seven months, Castlegar’s garbage collection weight is down 109 metric tons (MT) or 13 per cent. Meanwhile recycling weight is up 18 MT, or 11 per cent.
“It’s showing that the program is working and it’s getting us certainly heading in the right direction,” said Barlow.
The City’s goal is to ultimately reduce Castlegar’s garbage weight by 5o per cent over five years, which will decrease the amount the City pays for tipping fees accordingly — traditionally approximately $120,000 a year.
“The next piece is going to be, of course, supporting this program with continued education, and now that we’re able to have a better understanding of what our weights are, … it’s going to be easier to track how successful education campaigns are in comparison to recycling and garbage weights,” explained Barlow.
The City also hoped to increase recycling participation by 75 per cent.
Asked how recycling participation is calculate, Barlow replied, “They actually do counts of everyone that’s setting out recycling. So previously it was only 45 per cent, and we’ve seen already over a 10 per cent increase in participation rate.”
Barlow’s update accompanied a new Solid Waste and Recycling Regulations and Rates Bylaw that was brought before council last week. The new bylaw will replace the City’s existing Garbage Regulations and Rates Bylaw. Barlow explained that because the City’s new solid waste and recycling program introduced so many changes, it was easier to just write a new bylaw than it was to amend the existing one.
The changes included having garbage collected bi-weekly and a move to multi-stream blue box recycling, which is also collected bi-weekly. Asked if curbside recycling would be done weekly in the event of a 75 per cent participation rate, Barlow said, “The only requirement for recycling to be more would be if the trucks aren’t able to keep up with the amount of recycling. If they’re just not able to get all the collection done in that one week, that would be the trigger for us to look at doing additional pickups.”
The City is also working with the Regional District of Central Kootenay to determine if curbside organic collection is possible in the coming years. “Unfortunately there isn’t a facility yet to accept the organics, but we’re continuing to work with them to see what opportunities are available,” said Barlow.
If curbside organic collection is possible, it would not only help the City of Castlegar reduce its garbage weight and tipping fees further, but would potentially allow Castlegar residents to eliminate garbage bags. The City currently requires that any table and kitchen waste, wet solid waste, floor sweepings, ashes or sawdust be placed in a “solid waste bag” before going into the City’s garbage cans. But with organics diverted from the garbage can, most households could also probably eliminate the regular use of garbage bags.
The City’s current curbside pickup program allows Castlegar residents to place mixed paper products — newspapers, catalogues, clean pizza boxes, flattened boxes, envelopes, etc. — and mixed containers — aluminum and tin cans, hot and cold beverage cups, clean plastic bottle and caps, etc. — in two separate blue bins for pickup.
Glass bottles and jars, plastic bags and overwrap, and plastic foam packaging are not collected curbside, but can be dropped off at the multi-materials BC Depot at 2324 Sixth Ave. in Castlegar.
The City also doesn’t offer curbside yard waste pickup, but does have a yard waste collection facility at 2161 Sixth Ave. The facility also accepts Christmas trees, but Barlow reminds residents to make sure they are free of tinsel or decorations.
For a full list of what can and can’t be placed at the curb, visit recyclinginbc.ca.