City's trash talk paying off for tax payers
The City of Castlegar’s newly-implemented garbage/recycling management program has been anything but wasteful, according to data recently released by contractor Waste Management.
City director of Transportation and Civic Works, Chris Barlow, said that Waste Management tracks how much waste it collects and to which facility said waste is diverted.
“When they go to tip the truck at the landfill, and at the recycling facility, they weight them,” he said. “The stats they provided cover from the beginning of the new solid waste managment program, on April 4, to Oct. 31 (of this year).”
In that time frame, he said, recycling volumes have increased by over 11 per cent, while (landfill) tipping fees have been reduced by 15 per cent.
“Waste diversion prolongs the landfills lifespan, conserves resources and saves taxpayer dollars,” Barlow said, explaining the city spends $120,000 a year on tipping fees. That means a 15-per-cent reduction over the course of the year will translate into an $18,000 savings for the city.
And it’s not just volumes that have increased – resident buy-in and participation is on the rise as well.
“Before the new program, fewer than 45 per cent of households participated in our curbside recycling,” he said. “That’s increased by more than 10 per cent, which is a very positive sign.”
Another strongly positive outcome has been the reduction in garbage-related black bear conflict, according to statistics provided by WildSafe BC.
“The 2016 season saw the lowest percentage of garbage-related conflict in the last eight years (at least)!,” read a post on the WildSafe BC Castlegar Facebook page (to visit, click here). “This is significant, seeing as total conflict was relatively high this year, with a ton of bear activity in the valley bottoms. In other words, there were a lot of bears, but relatively few were getting into garbage.”
Barlow this translates to a reduction of garbag-related conflict by more than 10 per cent.
“Considering it was a busy bear season, it clearly indicates the success of the program, or at least a good first step,” he said. “As of September 2016, the City of Castlegar installed 80 bear-resistant garbage cans in city parks and along city streets,” he added.
For more information on this and other city programs, visit www.castlegar.ca