Richmond not looking at curbing garbage days just yet

Residents of 2,000 Vancouver homes could soon see garbage collection reduced to once every two weeks and green waste pickup become weekly, but so far Richmond isn’t making the shift.

Vancouver is mulling a pilot project in two neighbourhoods to reduce the amount of trash that heads to the landfill.

“We certainly have contemplated going to the every other week pickup for garbage, but it’s not something we’re looking at doing right away,” said Ted Townsend, spokesperson for the City of Richmond.

Richmond started its $640,000 Green Can program in April 2010, allowing food scraps to be picked up with yard trimmings at single-family homes. City officials are allowing time for residents to adjust to the program before changing garbage and food scrap pickup frequencies.

Earlier this year Richmond began a pilot project to expand its Green Can program to multi-family dwellings. Approximately 3,200 townhouses will get food scraps pickup until at least the end of the year, when staff will evaluate whether or not to move to a city-wide program.

“Down the road maybe we’ll look at going to every other week for garbage pickup, but we’re a ways away from that,” said Townsend.

Homeowners have been slow to adjust to recycling table scraps, chicken bones and pizza boxes instead of throwing them into the trash. According to a recent staff report, the city fell nearly 1,000 tonnes short of its target in the first year to divert food scraps from the landfill.

But Suzanne Bycraft believes the numbers are trending in the right direction. In her report, the manager of environmental programs said in the first two months of 2011—when most of the green waste is food scraps—the city collected 200 more tonnes at the curb compared to the same period a year earlier. Garbage volume also dropped in 2010 by 2,039 tonnes.

Metro Vancouver aims to ban organic food waste and soiled papers from disposal by single-family homes by the end of 2012, coinciding with the deadline for all Metro cities to introduce curbside pickup of all organics.

For most cities, cutting garbage collection to every two weeks will be a way to save costs and help pay for more frequent weekly pickup of compostable organics.

Metro officials plan to extend the organics ban to businesses and multifamily housing in 2015.

According to Metro Vancouver, organics account for an estimated 40 per cent of all garbage in the region and diverting 265,000 tonnes of it is expected to get the region half way to its 70 per cent recycling target.

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