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Summerland council supports organics collection program

New system will begin on April 2
Summerland’s garbage collection system will change beginning April 2. Under the new system, yard waste and food waste will be collected each week, while other houshold garbage and recycling will be collected every week. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland will move to a residential food waste collection program for residential properties beginning on April 2.

Under the new program, food waste and yard waste will be collected weekly, while residential garbage will be collected every two weeks.

This is a change from the existing structure where garbage is collected once a week and yard waste is collected every two weeks.

The change does not affect recycling, which will continue to be collected every two weeks.

Joe Mitchell, director of works and infrastructure for Summerland, said the goal of the change is to divert 40 per cent of waste from the landfill.

In New Westminster, a similar program resulted in an immediate reduction of 43 per cent of residential waste, he said.

Graham Statt, Summerland’s chief administrative officer, said diverting food waste has been a published council priority in Summerland since 2000. He added similar programs have been implemented in many other British Columbia communities.

In a report to council, Mitchell said the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen completed a 2020-2021 Waste Composition Study, looking at residential waste collection.

From this study, more than 70 per cent of materials in Penticton’s garbage could be composted or recycled. Mitchell said Summerland’s garbage collection program operates like Penticton’s program.

To prepare for Summerland’s change to the collection system, Summerland will distribute kitchen catcher units to households in the community in March.

In addition, the municipality is producing a video about the new service, and will also hold two open houses.

Mayor Doug Holmes said the restructured collection system will divert materials from the landfill. This in turn will extend the life of Summerland’s existing landfill and will save money for the community.

Others on council also said extending the life of the landfill will benefit the community.

The program has the potential to diver more than 700 tonnes of materials from the landfill and reduce the equivalent of more than 1,00 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year from food waste diversion.

At present, Summerland does not collect yard waste in December, January and February. As a result, there are additional costs involved. The budgeted cost increase for 2024 is $29,768.

The Clean BC — Organics Infrastructure and Collection Program has provided two-thirds funding, up to $451,639, for the implementation of a curbside food waste collection program. The remaining one-third of the costs will come from existing reserves.

The deadline for the grant application is the end of March.

At the Feb. 6 council meeting, Summerland council unanimously supported the organics collection program.

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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