June 24th, 2024

Residents of Lethbridge paid for the new composting plant


By Lethbridge Herald on June 9, 2023.

Editor:

The Herald May 16th Question of the Day yielded some interesting results. 58 per cent of the replies indicated that citizens will not be utilizing the City’s new curbside organics program. 

It would seem to me that the whole program is a failure if less than half of Lethbridge residents are participating. One might also say that over 50 per cent of residents would not have supported the expenditure.

 The facility has cost taxpayers over 10 million dollars to complete. There will be additional ongoing costs to operate the plant with little or no revenue generated by it. Mayor Hyggen recently opened the new compost plant and said: “The most important thing the council looked at was the grant funding received from the federal and provincial government that really put us to the point where we didn’t have to use taxpayer dollars to construct this facility.” 

Does Mayor Hyggen understand that Lethbridge citizens also pay federal and provincial tax? 

Does Mayor Hyggen understand that all cities receive federal and provincial funding for projects like the new compost facility? So, yes Mayor Hyggen, the citizens of Lethbridge have paid to construct the new compost plant, no matter what type of political spin you try to put on it! 

And, it would seem that over half of those citizens did not want it built!

Bart Davies 

Lethbridge

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SophieR

Perhaps the most important project Lethbridge has completed in three decades to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – a great investment for those of us who will be living into the future.

lethbridge local

This actually does very little to address green house gasses. The same organic waste would be thrown out with either way and would have decomposed in both circumstances (although it does decompose better not being trapped in a garbage bag) yes you may save a very small amount of green house gasses if this was used instead of fertilizer for farming / gardening but the amount made at these facilities are no where near enough to keep up with farming demands of southern Alberta. Now add up the green house gasses and pollution from making tens of thousands of green plastic bins and delivering them, all the extra gas burned to run all the trucks needed to add another pick up day for every house in lethbridge every week and to run the plant its self. In the end we actually create more green house gasses than before. Yes you may have reduced land fill volume but to say you have saved the world from green house gasses is extremely short sighted and not true at all.

SophieR

The difference is that when organics decompose in a landfill, the process is anaerobic. The gases produced include methane, a much more potent ghg than CO2. Life-cycle analyses across the country favour curbside collection and composting over landfill for net-emissions. It is a good program. It is also cost-effective if you account for the benefits (and not just the costs, as these folks suggest).

Learjet

So, what exactly are the benefits or are we just supposed to “trust” government? All too often we are asked to simply believe. Where is the cost-benefit analysis? What about a mass-energy balance? Have you got a life-cycle analysis? How many tonnes of GHGe are avoided versus the GHG created? Without hard data this is nothing more than expensive virtue signalling.
It is common practice to capture landfill methane anyway and at no cost to the municipality. If this isn’t the better option, where is your evidence that informed decisions are being made?

Last edited 1 year ago by Learjet
SophieR

Capturing methane in a landfill, to be effective, requires preplanning and the installation of kilometers of pipe as the waste cells are filled. At a future date, a facility is installed to gently draw out the methane to be burned (or, if there is a lot of gas, used to generate electricity). Better and cheaper to avoid the creation of methane in the first place by keeping organics out.

As for the civil service, yes you should trust the experts hired to present these things to council. Council will sway the way the wind is blowing but hopefully do the best thing for the future if the city. If you wish to know more, you can search google scholar, read an environmental engineering text, or take a course on the topic.

SophieR

I might add, l.l., that your argument would be more correct if we all used the backyard composters. But few do, so half our collected waste is organic. I do agree that getting these otherwise wasted resources back onto land us a good idea, too.

Learjet

Your argument would have more credibility if you cited some numbers instead of making assumptions.

Citi Zen

This is more about a certain city hall administrator trying to justify his job. If the green cart issue were put to a referendum, it would have failed, and he would have been out of a job. Thus saving the taxpayer not only the $10M for the facility, but also wages for yet another do-nothing city hall administrator.

Learjet

KPMG said the same thing but we are on another hiring spree.

Mrs. Kidd (she/her)

You don’t actually think the results of any Lethbridge Herald poll are remotely representative of the general population, do you?

Citi Zen

Don’t you know the difference between a referendum and a Herald poll?? LOL

Mrs. Kidd (she/her)

Sorry, I don’t understand your question.

Learjet

Mr, Davies is a very thoughtful and successful businessman I have known forever, and whose livelihood (and that of his employees) is under attack by environmentalists who have never signed the front of paycheque.

SophieR

Who’s not an environmentalist? You do know that we live in an environment. You do know that this environment sustains us. You do know that the natural world doesn’t much care who writes the cheques. You do know what an economy is for (hint: meeting the longterm needs of humans).

biff

this was a great idea – compost and recycle are now the big brunt of pick ups, with dump stuff a fraction of what it was a few years ago