NEW PROGRAM – Waste Management Superintendent for the City of Red Deer Janet Whitesell stands beside the new green cart and kitchen bin that are tools in a plan to help reduce the amount of organic waste in the City landfill.

City launches ‘Green Cart’ pilot program

The City of Red Deer has officially launched the Green Cart pilot program, which aims to reduce the amount of organic waste being sent to the existing landfill by 40%.

Approximately 2,000 households will practice using the green carts to divert pet wastes, kitchen scraps, yard waste and soiled paper from entering the landfill. The carts are being emptied by a new automated pick-up system that the City eventually hopes to adopt for all garbage and recycling pick-ups.

Elaine Vincent, director of development services with the City of Red Deer, said she was excited to finally see the result of the extensive planning that brought this program to life. “This program has been on the books since 2013 and we’ve been working to roll out the pilot to the first 2,000 households, which is happening this month,” said Vincent.

“What we take a look at in that waste management plan is the City’s annual disposal rate dropping from 800 kilograms per year to 500 kilograms per year, and that will drop our landfill usage by about 40 per cent. I think it’s very realistic with the amount of diversion we’ve created with the Blue Box program. If we can now divert the organics, along with some other commercial reduction initiatives, those are very achievable goals.”

Participants in the pilot were chosen based on factors such as home age, lot size, zoning, front-street or back-alley pickups as well as yard waste factors, such as mature trees versus newer landscaping.

The items the green cart will keep from the landfill include fruit and vegetables, coffee grounds and filters, eggs and egg shells, soiled paper, newspaper and cardboard, leaves, grass and garden debris and pet waste wrapped in paper or compostable bags.

A full list of items accepted and items prohibited is available online at www.reddeer.ca/greencart.

“We measure success of the program, number one, by taking a look at the amount of waste diverted from our landfill. That’s going to be a key deliverable. We’ll also take a look at the level of customer satisfaction. The other piece that we have to take a look at will be the amount of actual organic waste that’s been generated, and how is our contractor able to deal with that capacity. (The pilot program) will give us a good sense of the volume that’s coming in, so that we can make sure any long-term contracts put in place will meet the targets we have,” Vincent said.

“The organic waste will be taken away and our contractor will compost it. It’s going to be reused in agricultural applications. What we’ll see is that forming soil, mulch – a variety of options, which, in the whole environmental lifecycle, is great. It ultimately will end up reducing our water usage, and preserving our existing landfill.”

If the pilot program is deemed a success, the next move will be a citywide adoption of the green cart program.

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

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