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Residents slowly warming up to curbside organics program

By: Matt Durnan

  |  Posted: Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 11:48 am

Airdrie Waste and Recycling Education Coordinator Paul Lyons speaks at the third and final curbside organics open house on April 9.
Airdrie Waste and Recycling Education Coordinator Paul Lyons speaks at the third and final curbside organics open house on April 9.
Matt Durnan/Rocky View Publishing

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The tide appears to be turning as Airdrie residents seem to be warming up to the idea of the curbside organics pick-up program in the city.

Waste and Recycling team members Paul Lyons and Kathleen Muretti hosted the third and final open house on April 9 for the program that officially kicked off on April 7.

Close to 50 Airdrie residents filled seats in Bert Church Theatre to hear Lyons deliver his presentation and to have their questions answered.

The mood of the crowd on hand stood in stark contrast to the first and second organics open houses, held on Feb. 27 and March 13. The questions from residents shifted from concerns and apprehension to seeking information on how to best use the new program.

Questions were raised around what could and could not be put into the green bin, whether branches and grass clippings could still be taken to the recycle depots, and if the bins were safe from pests like coyotes or foxes.

Muretti fielded most of the questions, while reminding residents that there will always be unique challenges that the City will have to look into as they arise.

“You can still take your grass clippings to the depot, but we’re anticipating that there will be about a 90 per cent drop in our intake because of this program,” said Muretti. “As far as critters like coyotes, there are millions of these carts across Canada and I haven’t heard of any incidents to date, they’re built for Canadian winters and elements and pests, I know that they can’t use them in Banff because the wildlife there is actually able to open up the lids, but in many cases these bins are safer from animals than your garbage bin.”

Airdrie residents Lionel and Doreen Thibeault both spoke in favour of the program. The couple have lived in Woodside for 11 years after moving from Edmonton where they were first familiarized with organics recycling.

“I’m all for this program and I think it’s a great thing,” said Lionel.

“My one concern is the required one-metre clearance for the bins when they get picked up; during the winter there’s a lot of snow pileup and windrows so it’s not that easy to get the bin out to the curb.”

Muretti responded that she and the Waste and Recycling department are cognizant of the potential for snow causing an issue, but she added she has already been in communication with the City’s Public Works department about the issue.

“Public Works is aware that there will have to be room at the curb for these bins,” said Muretti.

“They may have to adjust their snow clearing a bit in order to accommodate green bin pick-up.”

Other questions were raised regarding smaller families who may not produce a significant amount of organics waste and whether they would be penalized if their bin was not put out weekly.

“We will not penalize residents if they choose not to participate,” said Muretti. “We understand that there are smaller families or people who go away on vacation. You can put your bin out whenever you want, it’s completely up to the resident.”

Lyons was pleased by the shift among residents and that more people seem to be getting on side with the program.

“I think now that the program is underway and residents are starting to see the vision that we have for it, they’re warming up to it more and more,” said Lyons.

“The tone has really changed in the emails and phone calls we’re getting, where it used to be a lot of concerns, it’s more questions about how they can best take advantage of it.”

Curbside organics pick-up will be bi-weekly for the remainder of April and will transition to weekly pick-up from May through October. It will return to a bi-weekly schedule from November to April.

For a complete pick-up schedule, visit

Questions or concerns can be directed to the Waste and Recycling department 403-948-0246 or email


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