City tops up its pilot recycling project

CITY COUNCIL is adding a permanent recycling program to 2012 budget-talk topics.

  • Feb. 20, 2012 10:00 a.m.

CITY COUNCIL is adding a permanent recycling program to its wish list as it heads into a period of budget talks to set spending and taxing plans for this year.

The program would solidify a test drop off program using bins begun last November at the old Co-op location next to the George Little House.

Originally conceived as a six-month pilot, the program was more popular than first thought and a $15,000 budget was eaten up within two months.

That caused council to add $20,000 in January, enough to take the program to the end of March by which time council is expected to decide if it wants the drop off depot set up to continue.

Council still has to decide what section of the budget the $20,000 will come from and has now estimated that a permanent bin program would cost $70,000.

Plastics, cardboard and paper are deposited in one large container at the location and metals and organics in smaller bins.

Material from the large container is taken by Geier Waste Servicies to the Do Your Part recycling depot in Thornhill.

What was to be a once a week delivery by Geier quickly turned into three weeks because of the popularity of the bins.

City official Tara Irwin said the purpose of the pilot was to look at community response and usage, and based on both it has been considered successful.

She said the cost per tonne worked out to more than $500 during the pilot phase, more than three times the provincial average.

That’s to be expected during the test phase of any recycling program, Irwin added.

A full program would see efficiencies leading to lower costs, she said

Getting bids from companies on recycling pick up and processing will put long-term costs in better perspective, said Irwin, adding bid amounts will be presented to council before budget time.

Organic waste is taken to a location behind the city works yard for composting and Bold Salvage has been picking up metal.

The city first began moves to increase recycling just over a year ago with a pilot curbside program but fewer people than expected signed up for the service.

It began through joint efforts between the city and Regional District of Kitimat Stikine to divert waste from local landfills which are operating at-capacity on a permit basis while a new regional lanfill is being worked on.

The goal of reducing the amount of garbage being transported to landfills spurred the decision to stage a pilot curbside recycling project to gauge public reaction to the concept of recycling as well as composting, water conservation and green shopping.

In all, close to $63,000 has been spent on pilot initiatives with some of those costs being shared between the city and the regional district.