City addresses concerns around organics pick-up at open house
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, Mar 06, 2014 11:08 am
The City of Airdrie’s Waste and Recycling Team hosted an open house on Feb. 27 to address residents’ concerns with the City’s Curbside Organics pick-up program set to launch April 1.
Close to 30 residents filled seats in the Bert Church Theatre to listen to a presentation from Waste and Recycling Manager Kathleen Muretti and Education Coordinator Paul Lyons.
Outlined in the presentation were the costs and cost savings associated with the new program, along with the amount of waste the City will be able to divert from landfills and what products can and can’t be put into the new green bins that will be delivered to residents as early as March 10.
“The cost to send waste to landfills is increasing annually,” said Muretti. “Organics disposal prices are flat lined and as the demand for these facilities increases and there becomes more competition, we expect those prices to decrease.”
With the new curbside organics pick-up, residents will see a $5.26 per month increase on their waste disposal, a number that is slated to drop to around $4.54 per month next year. That $5.26 increase is prorated as the program will only be in place for nine months in its inaugural year.
Concerns were raised by a few residents in attendance about the cost associated with the program, and more specifically, the mandatory nature of the program.
“I don’t produce enough garbage to make use of this program,” said one resident. “I don’t see why this program can’t be voluntary.”
Muretti responded that the program was not mandatory and that the City could not force residents to take or use the green bin.
“It’s at your discretion whether or not you want to participate,” she said. “You can’t opt out of paying for it though, everyone who is eligible is sharing in the cost.”
A few residents in attendance backed the program, attempting to quell some of the trepidation in the room, by speaking highly of their experiences with similar programs.
Kim Yeo, a three-year resident of the Thorndale neighbourhood, said she fully supports the program.
“I moved here from Georgetown, Ontario where we had this same program and there was never any difficulty getting used to it,” said Yeo. “I think it’s just because it’s something new and different that is causing some concern. When you see how much better this is for the environment and how much waste it’s diverting from landfills, it’s hard to argue with the value of this.”
Bob Blakeborough, another Airdrie resident in attendance who had first-hand experience with organics pickup, spoke in favour of the program. He participated in the pilot program last summer and said that the adjustment was minimal.
“I adapted to putting organics into the green bin really fast, I can see people getting over the change fairly easily,” said Blakeborough. “Once you start to see how much your garbage levels are dropping and learning how many different products can be recycled you really see the benefit and it just becomes a routine.”
A few residents asked why the organics program was selected over a blue box pick-up, and Muretti explained that blue box pick-up has not been ruled out and it will be evaluated.
“The plan was always to have blue box pick-up follow organics pick-up,” said Muretti, citing the significant amount of waste diversion that organics will create.
“By implementing an organics pick-up we will be diverting the amount of waste we send to landfills by as much as 50 per cent, with blue bin pick-up we would only be diverting about five per cent.”
The City will host two more open houses on organics pick-up, the first on March 13 at 7 p.m. at City Hall, the second on April 9 at 7 p.m. at Bert Church Theatre. Curbside organics pick up is expected to start weekly in April and will coincide with garbage pick-up.