July 17th, 2024

Green cart program moving to bi-weekly pickups

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 7, 2023.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Waste and environment collections manager James Nicholls meets with reporters about the new bi-weekly organics collection schedule Monday at City Hall.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The City of Lethbridge announced Monday that starting today residents will only need to roll out their green carts for organics collection every second week until spring.

Waste and Environment collections manager James Nicholls spoke to reporters on Monday and said the schedule change accounts for the weather changing and the need for yard waste going into the green cart decreasing.

“We are going to be moving to a bi-weekly schedule. What that means is that half the people in the City of Lethbridge will receive their collection each week instead of everybody receiving weekly collection,” said Nicholls.

He said that since many items will continue to be placed in the green carts such as food waste, pizza boxes and paper towels, they are continuing with collection, but because temperatures are lower, lower foul odours won’t be as big of a factor as they are during warmer months.

With lower temperatures and freeze and thaw cycles, a different issue may arise: With organic materials, which sometimes include liquids, this could potentially create a situation where collections may become difficult, but there are ways to prevent it.

“The first thing that I do at my own house is I use certain cardboard items and put the materials inside. I’ll use cereal boxes and put all my materials in there. You can line your cart with a paper yard waste bag, or other paper or cardboard items to prevent it from sticking and also absorbing some of those liquids,” said Nicholls.

He said residents can also give carts a little bang before rolling them out for collection.

 “I’ll just give it a little tap with my foot before I put it out and lift that lid before I put it out for collection, to ensure that it’s going to be collected without issue,” said Nicholls.

Nicholls said during the recent cold snap the City did not experience any issues with organics collection and that was a good test for what is to come.

He also told reporters the City is happy with the community response to the green bins and how much organic waste has been put to better use than being buried in the ground.

“The first six months have been really great. We’ve seen over 4,000 tons of material make it into the green carts and that’s all tonnage that would have normally gone into the black cart that is now made it into our compost facility,” said Nicholls.

He said participation rates have been excellent with more than 85 per cent of people in the city using their green cart since they received it.

 “Really encouraging numbers. We know there’s more growth to go, but so far so good,” said Nicholls.

He said the City is aware that changing schedules might make it difficult for residents to remember what day to roll out their green carts, and therefore they are encouraging everyone to download the Lethbridge Loop app to access cart collection schedules and other information.

“Great resource not only for collection schedules, to get that timely reminder the day before, or two days before, whatever you decide, telling you which cart you should be putting out. Instead of doing that little peek down the street before putting your cart out, you know exactly which cart should be going out,” said Nicholls.

He said the app also helps residents stay informed about snow and ice control changes and gives residents access to the waste wizard for those who are unsure about what items go in what cart.

And for those who prefer talking to a person about their inquires, they can call 311 Monday through Friday to chat with an agent.

For residents who would like to learn more about the Lethbridge Loop app, the City will have a pop-up booth at the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization located at 500 11 Street South from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 9.

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