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City council, administration does not consider alternatives to curbside organics recycling program

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  |  Posted: Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 11:38 am

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Re: “Airdrie resident petitioning for curbside blue box pick-up,” March 6

Dear Editor,

While some of the Airdrie homeowners are giddy over the new organics program instituted by the City of Airdrie Public Works department, others are not.

Like any new tax stream being foisted upon unsuspecting taxpayers, it comes with promises of low fees projected to get even lower (yeah right).

Some residents are questioning why other methods of waste reduction were not tried out first.

In the “Decision Makers Guide to Solid Waste Management” (one of our more logical studies available), it suggests a hierarchy of methods for municipalities to deal with compostables in the waste stream: First on the list is grass cycling.

Otherwise referred to as sour reduction. According to some numbers banded about 30 per cent of our garbage is yard waste.

If everyone took an approach to minimize their own yard waste starting with grass cycling, that alone could significantly reduce costs of trucking compostables all the way to Strathmore.

And the prospect of rotting grass clippings, sitting in green bins throughout the neighbourhoods as well as rotting meat scraps for two weeks at a stretch and then collected by a smelly truck oozing toxic liquids doesn’t appeal to some of us.

Another consequence of trucking grass clippings besides the huge waste of fuel, is that the herbicides commonly used on lawns then contaminates the composting facility and even though it has the appearance of ‘organic,’ the compost product contains herbicides, pesticides not to mention other toxins in meat and other household ‘compostables.’

The second method in the hierarchy of the aforementioned Decision Makers Guide is backyard composting.

If residents were encouraged and incentivized to create their own compost, this could eliminate another 25 per cent of household waste. Backyard composters could have been provided to residents instead of the green bins, the garbage limit set to one bag per week, and education about backyard composting provided instead of education about how to manage a green bin.

You might think that backyard composting would produce more smell than the green bins, but I beg to differ.

My neighbour has a composter and I have not smelled it at all.

Airdrie has an excellent recycling facility and program.

If it would continue the yard trimmings portion of that, even more disposal costs could be eliminated.

On top of this top-down approach to waste management, we also have a one-year resident of Airdrie trying to foist another top-down approach (and inevitable tax) namely blue bins.

Candi Strohan, according to the article in this paper on March 6, has been drinking the recycling Kool-Aid to the extent that she thinks us long-term residents aren’t being responsible enough for her planet saving ideology and wants the City to force us to recycle by means of blue bins.

She has even started a petition to garner the help of other recycling zealots.

I have diligently made my weekly trips to the recycle depot, so I don’t need to be forced, and there is a blue box program for those willing to pay the $15 per month instead of gas money and time to go to and from the recycle depots.

One of her main points seems to be that while she had an injured leg, her recycling piled up in her house.

Why don’t you just subscribe to the Kick It to the Curb service instead of trying to tell Airdronians they need more bureaucrats to do the right thing?

Back to composting: why did City of Airdrie choose the fourth method in a logical hierarchy of methods to deal with waste reduction?

I think there are a couple reasons: Firstly, when “green” propositions come before council they are so eager to participate in the green washing ideology that they don’t scrutinize these things as analytically as they should, and if it sounds like a rational way to institute a new tax, that’s what council is there for.

Dennis Derksen,

Airdrie


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