News

Regional kitchen-scrap plan could use ‘carrot or stick’ approach

The City of Victoria will seek public consultation on planned changes to its waste-collection system.

Frequency of pick up, and curbside versus backyard pick up will be vetted by a mail-in survey, which outlines the three options.

Kitchen-scrap collection will be a new service, included in all three options, and scheduled to begin in January 2013.

Saanich is also planning a small-scale pilot program designed to collect kitchen scraps from select homes.

Two Victoria-based companies already provide the service, but neither see the municipalities’ movement as a threat.

Matthew Mepham, of Community Composting, said the city’s move is unlikely to put him out of business.

Jason Adams, of reFUSE Resource Recovery, guesses he’ll lose only 60 to 80 customers.

“We’re real believers in what we’re doing so it’s hard to have bad feelings about (the city’s plans),” said Adams. “I don’t believe it will have any hindrance on us.”

That’s mostly because both companies pick up far more yard waste than food scraps from residential homes.

Adams’ said it’s something the city should also consider doing.

“People want it,” he said, with his business hat off. “And you need the yard waste to mix with the food waste (for proper composting ratio).”

Mepham’s three trucks also serve condo buildings.

“We pick up kitchen waste from lots of multi-unit dwellings,” he said.

This segment of his business also won’t be affected by the city’s plans, because condos are considered commercial and so excluded from waste collection.

The Capital Regional District, however, has its eye on the commercial sector.

It is consulting with the business community about a kitchen-scraps diversion program.

“It could look like a landfill restriction at Hartland, or it could look like a financial disincentive, it could be a voluntary program, it could be all these different things,” said Monique Booth, communications co-ordinator of environmental sustainability for the CRD.

Adams is advocating for a diversion rebate, based on how much organic waste businesses divert from the landfill.

“A carrot, instead of a stick would be a great way to encourage participation,” he said.

rholmen@vicnews.com

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