Green Cart Program Will Encourage Reduction of Organics in  Landfills
Monday, June 29, 2015 at 12:30AM
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Do you leave stuff in your fridge way past the expiry date so that you can compost it? Steal your neighbour’s bags of garden clippings, so you can spread it on your flower beds? Crazy, right? In fact, the City of Red Deer wants a lot more residents to get crazy. Not so ridiculous that we waste good food, of course, but rather in the sense that more of us actively embrace the benefits of composting. This month, the City of Red Deer is rolling out the Green Cart Pilot Project, in part to divert residential organics. Other goals of the project are to “trial” various aspects of organics collection, including the use of automated carts and educational materials in order to refine the design of a future citywide program.

 

Approximately 2 thousand households have been selected to participate in the program. Keran Braich, Waste Diversion Specialist in Environmental Services, says the participants reflect the overall demographic of the full population.

 

With wheels and lids, the green carts provided by the City will hold kitchen food scraps, including meat or meat products, garden clippings and leaves, soiled paper – think of pizza boxes - and pet waste. Braich says all these items are fine to toss into the cart. Collection days will remain the same as the usual garbage and recycling schedule. Participants in the pilot program are supplied with a limited number of compostable bags in order to make moving food scraps from the kitchen to the cart easier. The City won’t be giving out extra bags beyond the initial supply, but the bags are available at many retail locations.

 

“This isn’t a new idea, “ says Braich. “In fact, it is part of the 2013 Waste Management Plan adopted by the City, with the goal to reduce our overall waste. We are focusing on reducing the amount of organic matter in our landfill.”

 

Organic waste – kitchen scraps, garden debris, and the like – accounts for 40 per cent of the volume found in the landfill. Along with addressing problems of volume in landfill sites, diverting the waste helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These seemingly innocent scraps in the trash heap potentially trap and heat the air in the atmosphere. The

greenhouse gas they produce contributes to the problems associated with global warming. “We want to deal with our organic waste better because it has value in terms of the finished compost and has great environmental benefits,” according to Braich.

 

A contractor will transport the green cart waste to a local facility where it will be made into compost for use on agricultural land from the contents. Soil amendments reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and water: an environment bonus in both instances.

 

To plan for this program, the Environmental Services Department accessed information from other communities, such Calgary and Airdrie. “We had to consider certain issues that we face in Central Alberta. For example, how the weather will impact the use of the carts. We talked to our counterparts in northern communities about how to operate the carts in the snow,” Braich says.

 

Environmental Services staff plans to solicit and answer questions from the program participants from before rolling out a citywide program in 2017. “We want to learn as much as we can from the residents so we can be ready to offer the best full-scale program for everyone,” says Braich.

 

Why a green cart:

Organic matter – kitchen, yard & pet waste – accounts for a whopping 40 per cent of the volume of stuff in our landfill sites. The City of Red Deer has adopted the 2013 Waste Management Master Plan to reduce the overall waste in our community.

What can I put in the green cart?

When do I put out my green cart?

Green cart collection will occur on your regular scheduled garbage & recycling pick-up day & location.

Who can use the green carts?

It’s a pilot program at this stage, for 2 thousand pre-selected households, but Environmental Services hopes to offer a city- wide program in spring of 2017.

Where can I get more information?

greencart@reddeer.ca

Reddeer.ca/greencart

403-340-8662

Published April 2015 Red Deer Advocate. May not be reprinted without author's permission.

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