City looks at organic options

CAFEHARA OWNER Sonny Yoo dumps coffee grounds into an organic waste bin that’s part of a City of Terrace project. - FILE PHOTO
CAFEHARA OWNER Sonny Yoo dumps coffee grounds into an organic waste bin that’s part of a City of Terrace project.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO

THE CITY is running a small pilot organic waste recycling project in a further attempt to keep material from being taken to its landfill.

Collections by city employees happen weekly from four restaurants and one convenience store and the waste is taken to an area behind the city's public works building on Graham Ave.

Once spring comes, the waste will then be placed in composters also located behind the public works building, explains city official Tara Irwin.

“It should be clear the city does not want to get into the commercial composting business. This is a pilot project to determine the potential for someone who might want to offer this service as a commercial enterprise,” said Irwin.

She said the advantage of reducing the amount of organic waste going into landfills rests with cutting back on the amount of methane gas and leachate that is produced as the waste breaks down.

A survey of the Terrace landfill several years ago indicated that perhaps 35 per cent of what was thrown out was organic material.

In its first week, city workers picked up 640 litres of material which works out to approximately seven cubic metres in dimension.

The pilot project is in its sixth week and is to last four months.

So far, Irwin is pleased with what's being picked up and taken to the city’s works yard.

When composted, the material will be used by city crews on city property.

“We won’t then be spending as much on material we would need to buy,” said Irwin.

The pilot project cost is minimal, mostly in the purchase of the bins placed at Mr. Mike's, Cafenara, Starfish Bistro, the Hothouse and the Copperside by George Little Park.

“After that it's mostly staff time,” said Irwin of the weekly pickup. “And we'll be able to use the bins after for other purposes.”

The groundwork to set up the project came from second year geography students at Northwest Community College.

As a course project, they  surveyed establishments to determine interest and opinions on recycling organic waste.

Some places, the students discovered, already have an informal system in place by supplying local pig farmers.

They also reported some establishments were worried about mess, smell and how often material would be picked up.

Establishments also said they didn't want to pay for an ongoing pickup service.

Irwin said the cost of a pickup composting service could be balanced against having to pay to have the material disposed of at the landfill.

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