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Curbside organics survey complete, City to use information at open houses

By: Matt Durnan

  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 27, 2014 10:48 am

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The City of Airdrie’s curbside organics survey wrapped up on Feb. 18 and has acquired important information ahead of the City’s open house on Feb. 27 at Bert Church Theatre.

A total of 647 responses were gathered in the survey, with 70 per cent of respondents saying that they were aware of the City implementing a curbside organics pick-up program in the spring.

According to Airdrie Communications Advisor Jill Iverson, most of the results from the survey were not surprising to staff, and there is now a groundwork to educate residents on the program.

“There is definitely some misunderstanding and misinformation out there, but that was expected,” said Iverson. “The main issues we’ve found is people are still questioning why we didn’t implement a blue box pick-up first and what can and can’t go in the organics bins.”

The results of the survey showed that 39 per cent of respondents correctly answered “all of the above” when asked what items from a list of more than 15 different products they thought could be placed into an organics recycling bin, a number that Iverson said was actually, “quite good.”

One number Iverson said stood out to her was the number of respondents who currently use garburators, at 36 per cent.

“I was a bit surprised by that number, I didn’t think that many people were using garburators,” she said.

“Problems can arise when organics get into our wastewater system, it’s much better to compost those items.”

Among those who took the survey, the majority said that they produce around two bags of garbage per week, while most estimated that anywhere between zero to 24 per cent of their garbage was organic material.

With this information, Iverson says that the City can now tailor their open house presentation toward the concerns identified in the survey results.

“The first part of our presentation will focus on why we’re opting for organics pick-up instead of blue box,” she said.

“Our diversion rate of waste to landfills will be significantly higher with organics (close to 50 per cent) than with blue box pick-up (around five per cent). Plus, we already have private companies in Airdrie that offer blue box pick-up.”

Concerns still abound for City staff when it comes to the lack of knowledge with respect to the adverse effects organic waste has on the environment. Over 68 per cent of respondents did not think that it was harmful for organics to decompose in a landfill.

“The fact is, that at a landfill the organic materials don’t get enough oxygen, and as a result they emit methane gas into the air,” said Iverson.

City staff will host an open house on the curbside organics program on Feb. 27 at Bert Church Theatre from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be two other public information sessions, March 13, at 7 p.m. at City Hall and April 9 at 7 p.m., at Bert Church Theatre.


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