Starting next spring, Castlegar residents will put their garbage into new, smaller containers for pick-up and use their existing bins for compost.
After a lengthy debate last week, city council voted to purchase 120-litre carts for each household for garbage collection and redeploy the existing 240-litre ones for organics and yard waste, once curbside collection begins in April.
However, they also directed staff to look at the cost of providing a second 120-litre cart to families who need them. The alternative was to go with 240-litre carts for everyone at a higher price.
The $800,000 contract for 3,650 carts, awarded to Rollins Machinery Ltd. in partnership with Schaefer Systems International, also involves the purchase of kitchen catchers for each home.
The city issued a request for proposals for carts of both sizes, and evaluated the responses based on price, bear resistance, delivery times, and technical specs, among other criteria. Staff recommended buying 120-litre carts for garbage collection.
They told council each size comes with pros and cons: the smaller bin promotes waste diversion, provides an incentive for recycling and organics collection, and takes up less space overall, but may overflow and become a bear attractant. Some people may also overstuff them, making them hard to empty.
Buying larger carts would address some of those issues, but it would come with an additional cost of $54,000, provide a disincentive for recycling and organics, and be counterproductive to the city’s waste reduction goals.
Council voted 5-2 in favour of the smaller bins.
“There’s always going to be initial issues with people saying the smaller [bin] is not big enough for their garbage, but the whole intent is if you can get all your smellies, the 40 to 60 per cent out of your garbage, you’re going to have less,” said councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, who was part of the majority.
Mayor Maria McFaddin, however, thought they should have gone with the larger ones and didn’t think it made sense to designate the smaller bins for garbage.
“Lots of people have bigger families and I want to make sure whatever program we’re using is going to work for all of our citizens,” she said. “I’m not sure that a smaller garbage can does. We already get complaints that the 240 [litres] is not big enough for a two-week period.”
Two-thirds of the cost of the carts and kitchen catchers will be covered by a grant, while the other third will be partially subsidized by the Regional District of Central Kootenay.