June 18th, 2024

City rolling out green cart pilot program

By Herald on June 3, 2021.

City of Lethbridge Waste and Recycling general manager Joal Sanchez displays one of the current curbside organics collection pilot carts being tested by the City. Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski

Tim Kalinowski – Lethbridge Herald

After getting funding from city council to begin his work on a new curbside organics program during Tuesday’s meeting, Joel Sanchez, general manager of Waste and Recycling for the City of Lethbridge, wasted no time in briefing reporters on how the program will be rolled out city-wide by the spring of 2023.

“This is the last step in the waste diversion strategy that we have for the city on the residential side,” he said to local media during a press conference on Thursday. “Now with the organics program, we will be able to achieve the targets we have in that waste diversion strategy.”

Sanchez said he envisions a curbside “green cart” program which would collect weekly between April and November and biweekly over the winter months.

“With the implementation of the green carts that will be completed with a weekly collection during the spring,” he confirmed. “So that means from April to November residents will have a weekly collections of organics material, because that is when we have the seasonal material like yard waste, and all the grass and branches, that can be placed into the cart.”

Each household would also be provided a kitchen catcher, explained Sanchez, which they could empty when needed into a paper bag and put into the outside cart for collection. The outside carts would be slightly smaller than the current ones used for waste and recycling collection with the largest about 240 litres and the smallest 120 litres. The monthly cost to residents for pickup would be $5 for each single family home and $4 for each multifamily residence.

The original cost was to be $7 for single family residence, but, Sanchez explained, the recent city council decision to fully fund the construction of an organics processing facility at the Waste and Recycling Centre for $10.6 million out of the Capital Improvement Program reduced that monthly amount as the extra $2 per month would have been for debt servicing on the new facility if a loan had been required.

The cost for carts, kitchen catchers, and new vehicles required for pick up, etc., was also funded for $3.5 million per year through the CIP.

Sanchez said green cart programs were fairly widespread throughout many Canadian communities, but acknowledged less than half those communities actually own their own organics processing facilities as the City proposes to do.

“We are building one, but it is also important to mention all the operations we are doing at the Waste and Recycling Centre are operated by a private contractor,” Sanchez said. “So the City owns the asset, and by owning the asset that’s the certainty we can have a facility to dispose of these materials, and there is stability.

“By us owning the facility, we have the control in order to provide the services for the residents, and also to limit the increase in rates,” he later added.

Sanchez was confident the $5 monthly fee proposed for single family residences was also on the lower end of what you see in other cities.

As for concerns about a potential increase in pests with higher concentrations of organics in a green cart program, Sanchez said he and his staff are learning from other cities where these programs have been implemented, and the City would likely go with a gravity lock model. This type of green cart would have to be unlatched by users, and would only automatically unlock when turned over 180 degrees by a collection vehicle. The City was still working on specifics though, Sanchez said, of what cart model it would go with by 2023.

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Citi Zen

If you are going to force this on us, we should be able to opt out. Otherwise we are under a communist government.