Salmon Arm food waste pickup trial shows encouraging results

Mayor Mark McKee says he’s encouraged by the results of a curbside food waste pickup trial that took place in Salmon Arm this past summer.

  • Mon Oct 24th, 2016 5:00am
  • News

Green bins for food waste pickup could be coming to Revelstoke soon.

By Carli Berry, Black Press

Mayor Mark McKee says he’s encouraged by the results of a curbside food waste pickup trial that took place in Salmon Arm this past summer.

“I think the trial, the report they sent out, it all looks good,” he said. “People bought into, they reduced their garbage. I think it’s a good program and I think it’s something we should be looking at, and we have looked at it.”

The trial held by the City of Salmon Arm and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District was successful, according to the results issued by Jennifer Wilson, municipal engineer with the City of Salmon Arm, at a CSRD meeting on Oct. 20.

The trial took place from July to September, during which up to 90 per cent of 195 properties in the neighbourhood too part. They reduced their garbage by 22 per cent, while food made up 35 per cent of the waste collected. The 195 participants were broken down into 148 single family and 47 bare land strata dwellings.

“People really, really liked this program. They could see a substantial decrease of their garbage,” said Wilson.

On average, each property reduced their garbage by 1.31 kilograms, according to the presentation.

Residences were given door-to-door information guides and were asked to complete surveys in order for the city to gather feedback.

The trial took place south of the Mall at Piccadilly, an area chosen that would best represent Salmon Arm, with an average 2.5 people per household, said Wilson.

People who compost loved the system, and over half of the participants stressed the need for yard waste, as well as varying cart sizes, she said.

“They were very sad to see us going away.”

By the end of the trial, 80 to 90 per cent of the dwellings were participating in reducing their waste, opposed to the 68 per cent at the beginning of the trial.

Wilson suggested that a bi-weekly garbage service would be the best way to save costs.

“One week you’d have recycling and food waste and the next week you’d have garbage and food waste,” she said.

However, she noted that bi-weekly garbage pick up is not as efficient for families and pet owners, even though 82 per cent of the participants agree with the bi-weekly service.

The garbage reduction rate wasn’t as high as expected, she said, with predictions of more than 40 per cent.

Chad Eliason, director for Salmon Arm, said there were similar statistics with Salmon Arm’s recycling program in the beginning, over time he expects the numbers of the food-waste program will meet their targets.

“As people got more used to it, our volumes started to normalize and we got to our targets,” he said.

As of now, the city does not have a potential cost for residents to implement the system, said Wilson.

The City of Salmon Arm spent $25,000 on the project and the CSRD provided staff time and spent $5,000 on kitchen catchers and tipping fees at Spa Hills Farms, which was in charge of gathering and processing the waste,

The CSRD manages waste collection for the City of Revelstoke.

“I know it’s on the radar and we’re talking about it and looking at what the costs and the benefits and everything else,” said McKee.

Food waste includes products like fruit, vegetables and meat scraps as well as soiled paper products like pizza boxes and napkins.

With files from Alex Cooper, Revelstoke Review