A food scrap bin in every kitchen in every Saanich home – that’s Mayor Frank Leonard’s dream.
Council was expected to consider restructuring the municipality’s waste collection program at a meeting Monday, to allow for the separated collection of kitchen food waste. If approved, it’s the mayor’s dream come true.
“I’ve been pushing at the regional level for this to happen for some time, and basically our initiative is a sign that we’ve given up on the CRD providing the service,” Leonard said.
Hartland Landfill is estimated to be full by 2035, and Leonard said concrete steps are needed to give the landfill a longer lifespan.
Earlier this year, Saanich ran a three-month pilot project involving 583 homes with kitchen scrap and curbside garbage pickup, which gauged resident support and program logistics.
Saanich council needs to approve regulation changes, but feedback from the pilot program indicated that people don’t mind separating food scraps or leaving garbage cans at the curb.
“I’ve been very nervous about going from backyard pickup to curbside,” Leonard admits, due to expected push-back from residents, although the pilot project played out better than expected.
“I’ve learned from the trial just how much more financially responsible (curbside pickup) is,” Leonard said.
Saanich plans to roll out curbside garbage pickup at the same time as kitchen-scrap recycling, which should be district-wide by 2015. Residents who are physically unable to roll the bins to the curb will have an option for backyard pickup.
Leonard says the municipality will have a full kitchen scrap program in place in a little more than two years, but how it is implemented – all at once, or phased throughout the municipality – will be up to staff to decide.
If council approves the change, Saanich must also find a private sector source that will recycle all of the municipality’s collected kitchen scraps.
Saanich estimates that maintaining backyard pickup service in January 2015, the CRD’s end date for accepting kitchen scraps to Hartland landfill, would cost homeowners upwards of $300 per year.
But under a lower-cost curbside pickup model for garbage and organics, the district estimates the annual fee at $150 to $180.
Each Saanich household was charged $149.60 for refuse collection in 2012.