Starting in January, Lake Cowichan residents will be separating organic waste into a different receptacle for pick up.
This separation of organic material from other household garbage is part of an initiative by the town to decrease tipping fees, which are charged by weight.
According to the analyzed data, much of the weight of household garbage comes from organic waste, so the idea is to divert the organics from landfill and manage them a different way.
The organics collection is a pilot program for Lake Cowichan, during which the amount of organics will be measured. Town staff will also analyze how well the pick-up system works and monitor the program as a whole for problems that need to be addressed.
Each single-family household will receive three bins: one 80-litre for non-organic household garbage, one 80-litre for organic waste, and one small bin for your kitchen. The organic waste will be collected weekly. The non-organics waste will be collected biweekly, because information from other municipalities with organic pick-up indicates that much of weekly household waste is organic, so you won’t produce much in the way of non-organic waste.
Nagi Rizk, Superintendent, Public Works and Engineering, says that Lake Cowichan is one of the few towns that will also have multi-family bins for organic waste in areas like stratas.
Despite the fact that Rizk thinks it will be a process of trial and error because they don’t have data from other municipalities to study, he is confident that residents and staff of Lake Cowichan are ready to tackle this multi-family aspect at the same time.
“We do things better in Lake Cowichan,” said Rizk.
And indeed, this part of the program will put the town ahead of neighbouring municipalities like Duncan and North Cowichan who do not currently use multi-family organic waste bins.
“We’re not sure how that’s going to work out but we’re going to try it,” said Rizk.
In response to a query from one council member about pests getting into single- and multi-family bins, Rizk agreed that this was a concern that would need monitoring.
Another part of the program is the new delivery truck, which has been in use for training already so that drivers are practiced and can perform pick-up starting in January with no problems.
The town has decided to approach the schools around town and get children to submit artwork which will be used to decorate the truck with a unique Lake Cowichan brand.
An educational campaign complete with a package of information will be delivered to each home sometime near the end of this month.
“The process will begin soon. We’re currently looking at the logistics of delivering the containers to each household,” said Joe Fernandez, Chief Administrative Officer of Lake Cowichan.
The anticipated first pick-up of organics and garbage is currently set for Jan.17, 2015.
More information can be found by reading up on the North Cowichan organic waste disposal program here: http://www.northcowichan.ca/EN/main/departments/utilities/curbside-collection-service/organics.html.