Recycling program makes progress

Curbside: Pick-up diverts 40,000-kg per month from the landfill.

So far so good.

After eight months in operation, Salmon Arm’s garbage and recycling curbside collection program is running smoothly, reports city engineer Robert Niewenhuizen.

Although the program was controversial to begin with, “ultimately calls died down after the first months,” Niewenhuizen told the Sept. 19 meeting of the city’s development and planning services committee.

Rather than talk to staff at the front counter of city hall when there were lineups with taxes, he said citizens were told to fill in complaint and inquiry forms.

“It wasn’t specifically for garbage and recycling. It’s a very smooth and efficient way of taking enquiries and circulating to staff.”

Now 5,200 residences are receiving service, he said, and Aldon Waste Systems Ltd., the contractor, has been providing excellent service.

“It’s been a very challenging process but they’ve made it easier; they have been very accommodating to clients.”

He said Aldon has been talking to staff about modifying recycling routes because of the larger volumes being collected.

The statistics compiled from March through August show an average of 130 kilograms of garbage each month going to the landfill and 40,000-kg of recyclables being diverted.

“Ultimately to date, 363 tonnes of recycling have been diverted from the landfill. It seems fairly successful so far,” Niewenhuizen told council. “Other than dealing with minor issues, we’ve been dealing with most on a common-sense basis and have been able to resolve most of the issues.”

Coun. Chad Eliason asked for the probable cause of the spike to 162,500-kg of garbage dumped in August. Niewenhuizen said it’s difficult to determine but it could be because more residents are participating or because it’s a busy month for visitors.

Eliason said he’d also like to see the program expanded to include glass and organics.

Coun. Kevin Flynn said there are no accurate statistics prior to the program, but he’s noticed that on his street most people have just one bag of garbage and three or four of recycling. He said he would like to see statistics on airspace as well as weight.

Coun. Debbie Cannon said she’d like to see audits done of the garbage bags to see what people are throwing away, and Coun. Ken Jamieson said if the refuse was separated into bins it would help create targets for educating residents on recyclables. He said he would support expanded recycling as long as it doesn’t increase what people pay.

Coun. Alan Harrison suggested that the city avoid change at this point and keep it simple because people are still getting used to the system.

Niewenhuizen said city staff will meet with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District in mid-October to discuss several of the issues raised including airspace, education and organics.