Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Four communities selected for food and yard waste pilot

Citizens living in Abbeydale, Brentwood, Cougar Ridge and Southwood have been selected to take part in the residential food and yard waste pilot starting March 2012.

Nearly 8,000 homes will participate in the pilot that will test weekly collection of food and yard waste including citizen experience with green carts. The City will also test collection of black garbage carts every other week to maintain efficiency of the waste and recycling collection system.

“By composting food and yard waste, instead of sending it to the landfill, we can reduce waste and greenhouse gases, decrease our dependence on landfills and produce compost, a valuable product,” said Dave Griffiths, Director of Waste & Recycling Services.

Food and yard waste makes up nearly 60 per cent of residential garbage going to landfill. This compost material does not break down in a landfill, producing carbon dioxide and methane, which are powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Composting this material represents the biggest opportunity to achieve Council’s goal of diverting 80 per cent of waste from landfills by 2020 for the residential sector.

Waste & Recycling Services established several criteria and then consulted with the area aldermen in selecting the pilot communities:
  • Ability to test front curb and back lane collection;
  • Communities with different volumes of yard waste – i.e., established neighborhoods with higher volumes of yard material (mature trees and vegetation) and newer communities with smaller volumes;
  • A mix of housing types – single family homes up to and including fourplexes;
  • Varied collection days;
  • Communities with no more than 2,000 homes each;
  • Whole communities to participate for ease of communication and education.
Each home in the pilot communities currently receiving blue and black cart collection will receive a green cart, kitchen pail and compostable pail liners for food waste, and paper yard waste bags. They will also receive an information package explaining how to participate, what materials are accepted and a collection schedule.
  • There will be no charge to pilot participants.
  • The green carts are about 120 liters – half the size of the blue and black carts we are now using.
  • In the pilot, residents will use the green carts for their compostable materials – including all fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, bones, food-soiled paper and dairy products – as well as yard waste. Residents will use the paper bags for any additional yard waste.
  • The green carts will be collected every week just like the blue carts for recycling.
  • Black cart garbage collection in the pilot communities will occur every other week since most of the material that decomposes and produces odours will be in the green carts.
  • Only two carts will be collected on the same day. The third one will be collected on a separate day during the same week. Waste & Recycling Services will test different combinations – blue and black carts on the same day or blue and green together.
  • Waste & Recycling Services will communicate with pilot community residents through a variety of ways including open houses, direct mail, instructional materials with the carts, community newsletters, educator visits, and calgary.ca/greencart
Feedback from participants will be collected throughout the pilot and Waste & Recycling Services will report back to Council by March 2013 with results of the pilot and recommendations for a city-wide program.

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